How to Use Silence with Others

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Silence is something more of us should do.  The more social media that I read, the more I think that humankind has a need to be heard, to always respond.  Despite the need to respond, we don’t always want someone to give us feedback.  Feedback is sometimes the hot button that just makes a person clam up.

The opportunities around silence are immense.  

  • Silence from others, allows us to process what is affecting us.  Immediate feedback only disrupts this process.
  • Silence communicates a respect when you are listening.  It allows others to know you are present with them, not discounting what they are saying.
  • People in pain, don’t need automatic response.  They need presence.
  • Silence keeps us from sometimes saying something we should not say.  It keeps us out of hot water.

Knowing when to be silent and when to respond.

  1. Respond when the person appears ready to accept your response.  Keep your eye contact focused on the other person.  Keep a safe but engaged distance
  2. Silence means you are processing what is being said.  Respond only when you are expected to respond, ask questions, configure your language to reflect what is being said
  3. Responding is not always necessary.   Respond in ways that you would like others to respond to you.  Take time to focus on other’s immediate needs.

Asking permission to respond is a respectful transition.  The other person will let you know when they are ready to receive your response.  Then they will be ready to complete the transition.

10 Ways to Move Forward When You Feel Stuck

 
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Like the flower that blooms in the Spring, it takes the right conditions to break through the ground.  Breaking through personal obstacles is really no different.

The Rut: Anything that is keeping you stuck from where you’re desiring to go.  

Other ways that describe being stuck:

  1. I’m in a job I dislike
  2. I’m not moving forward in my role 
  3. I can’t get ahead of the bills
  4. My boss doesn’t seem to recognize the contribution I make
  5. I feel blah all the time 

Recognizing you’re stuck is 50% toward the solution.  Some don’t even see they’re stuck until a crisis hits. Being stuck wasn’t something that happened once or twice, it’s something that progressed over time.

10 Ways to move beyond stuck

  1. Look at what is actually not stuck: Leverage those resources
  2. Identify your supports – or seek out support
  3. Look at self sabotage – ways your choices are making it harder to succeed
  4. Ask yourself: What does being stuck really mean…what does it require me to do?
  5. What one tipping point do you need that would make the difference?  
  6. Are your expectations holding  you back?  Are they the right ones?
  7. Are you doing more, or expecting more?
  8. What do I need to do less of, and more of?
  9. Learn, expand.
  10. Understand that struggle is making you stronger

Not moving down a desired path doesn’t mean you aren’t moving.  It means something is taking a different direction unintended.

Moving beyond a challenge requires concerted effort to understand the patterns around you, many of which need discovered.

Work through being stuck by identifying the pattern in operation, then choose a set of new patterns that may lead to different results.

Ways to Drive More Positive Change in Your Life

  
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Change is seen as the enemy and something that must be dealt a response, often reactively.  Creating change is a lofty topic to be sure, but the intent should always to create the change you want to prevent unwanted change, and also to make things better.

Examine change everyday. Your heart knows what needs to change.

Unless you’re spending a great deal of time in denial, avoidance or procrastination, your heart informs your mind about what should be different or better.  Many if not all of us stay in this zone of self-denial. Examining and checking in with yourself daily is the first step toward an honest appraisal.

Five “first steps” toward driving change:

  1. Just start opening yourself up to the things you automatically feel are wrong.  They may be big or small, but they are there.  Just write them down and define them. Pick one word that defines the area for change.
  2. Work toward a plan.  Use a personal journal.  The more you write about something, the more your heart informs the mind, and enables your ability to problem solve.  We are often what we think.
  3. Use imaging.  Use your capacity to imagine what desired change looks like everyday.  Do this in conjunction with walking exercise, or quiet time.
  4. Work your plan slowly, with small steps. Realize it will take time.  The secret is actively doing something.  Getting imperfect results is a sign that change is happening.  You’re building momentum.
  5. Reevaluate weekly, or daily if necessary.  Become a “tweaker” that makes small adjustments.  Learn more and get more skills or feedback if you need to.

After a while your heart will tell your mind whether your on the right track.

Quick Ways to Reestablish Focus

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These days, focus can be quickly swept away in the flurry of demands and people issues that present.    The more roles you participate in, the more you know how to do, and the more effective you are, there are corresponding demands on your time.

This doesn’t have to be the result.  Reestablishing focus, is about managing what happens around you, either on a prevention level, or in the ways you take future steps to decrease the problem from happening again.  The way you maintain your focus is about making sure that your “overload” doesn’t hamper taking the next step.  The ways you maintain your focus, or reestablish it, may surprise you, because they are normally things we have within our direct control.

5 Ways to Reestablish Focus:

Maintain good sleep hygiene: This means good rising and retiring times.  It also means not burning the candle at both ends. Stress creation is often a function of poor sleep, disrupted sleep, or habits of staying up too late.  Poor sleep is a major contributor and byproduct of mental health issues.  Addressing sleep is often the first step taken in treatment – obtaining better sleep, builds an individual’s ability to deal with real situations in their lives with more strength.

Watching what you eat: Although this is not an article on dietary issues and weight loss, the food choices we make, can contribute to the ways we handle emotional issues.  Poor decisions with eating – inconsistent times, eating the wrong kinds of foods, and over-eating, can all impact how we mentally handle decisions around us.  Eating heavier foods, and too much food, can lead to insensitivity, and a tendency to internalize problems, rather than working them through.

White Space: What type of time do you set aside to do what you need to do? Often a source of poor focus is being over committed, and over-scheduled.  In other words, we bite off more than we can choose, and think we are wonder-people. Building ‘white space’, or time spaces in your schedule, gives you the leverage you need to do other things that feed your ability to focus.  This may include reading, journalling, reflection, listening to music, specific project planning, or prioritizing a project.

Keeping Active: This can be anything from walking to your car, taking the steps, playing with your kids, or planned exercise. The intention and follow through with some type of physical activity (not the amount) is what clears the cobwebs from your mind.  It allows our minds to filter through what’s important, and choose your next focus.

Recording What you Do: If you have a problem you want to address, or need to ‘Get Focused’, start naming it, recording it, and measuring it.  This is how you find the patterns. Keep your productivity tools to a few essentials, and don’t get over focused on using technology.  You can have a lot of ‘tools’ that never get used in effective ways, because there are too many of them. Choose the tools that feel most comfortable and go with those, record your accomplishments, and what you are doing.  It will create a better awareness of where you need to go.

The key to better focus, is about centering on things that change your body’s response to its environment.  It is about recording what you want, finding patterns, and then locating where you need to go.

Dealing with Intrusive Problems in Your Life

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Dealing with ongoing problems is a part of life.  Life presents challenges everyday, and in many cases solutions emerge, and we move onto the next challenge.  Without problems or challenges, life could be mundane.

Intrusive problems are difficulties that are chronic in nature, and keep screaming for our attention.  The more intrusive the problem, the more it screams for us to deal with it.  Failure to deal with ongoing problems, can lead to more dramatic impact on relationships, our health, and are a common cause of financial and interpersonal conflicts.

Intrusive problems as thoughts and value conflicts – Conflict is a result of having a wish and a fear.  What we fear, is often a result of conflicts in our lives that have no current resolution.

Why Do You Let Things Rent Space In Your Head? If intrusive thoughts are a function of unresolved problems in our lives, they have a direct relationship to the way we think about our wishes and fears.  They also correspond to the way we violate our principles or values, and how we may be compromising other areas of our lives in pursuit of an unacknowledged expectation. Think of your mind as a big hotel.  A hotel can be expansive, large, or small.  It can have multiple rooms.  If your mind is carrying around all the weight of unresolved emotional business, then obviously you are ‘letting a lot of these things rent space in your head’.  Sometimes, we let the problems mount, and we actually expand the number of rooms in our metaphoric hotel in our minds.  We let more stuff in, that has no value for our progress, and may actually begin to take over our capacities for change, and resolution.

Naming the Conflicts – The best way to eliminate the baggage we carry around is to decide whether you will let these intrusive items continue to inhabit your thoughts, time, and attention.  Too many people spend unnecessary time dealing with things that hold them emotionally hostage.  Failure to deal with conflicts renders you unable to move forward.  Placing names to the things that rent unnecessary space is the first step toward releasing yourself from these conflicts.

Letting Go – Learning to let go of the unnecessary – is the preliminary step toward actual change, and eliminating intrusive thinking.  What do you control?  What is out of your control…and why?  Some questions to ask during the process of letting go:

  1. Why is the emotional baggage important to you?
  2. What would it be like if you let go?
  3. Do you want to be hostage to the intrusive thinking (which is likely not completely real)?
  4. Why can’t you live free of these conflicts?
  5. How is the conflict relate to what you truly believe?

Taking Charge – Being torn over something, doesn’t mean you have to stay that way.  Exercising courage to free yourself of unnecessary emotional baggage, and the associated thoughts is a process.  You have to decide if you are the author of your life – living out other people’s scripts, or you deserve better.