Tag Archive for love advice

Holiday Advice

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Listen First

With the holidays upon us there are going to more people in our lives who we may have not seen much during the last year. This can be problematic because we don’t have an ongoing dialogue with them. Instead we are expected to jump right in as if there has been a solid amount of interactions from the last time we met each other. Not a chance. So take some time to get reacquainted and talk to each other without any expectations. Here is a recap of some older articles designed to give you a better holiday experience…

Talking is the beginning of sharing our thoughts and ideas. But without a willing partner you will get nowhere. If you’re doing it by yourself, the results can sometimes be less than spectacular. So when talking to each other, make certain that you have an active partner.

With that said, it is equally important that you be a good listener and not just hear the spoken words. Listening can be a great way to pick up on subtle things that are conveyed through voice inflection and body language. In a relationship discussion what is not said can be more important than what is said. Keep focused on the person you are having a conversation with, and show some interest.

Why Is This Important?

Regardless of the situation, by listening first you put yourself in a very powerful position. As the listener you will get all of the information being offered. It gives you the ability to think about the message and create a reasonable, informed answer. This will help in advancing the conversation and give you the opportunity to learn about them. You may be surprised by what is actually conveyed.

What is the Benefit?

In relationships we are emotionally invested. Our feelings are exposed for anyone to nurture or damage. And this leaves us feeling vulnerable to the next attack. In reality it is each of us who has the opportunity to choose to listen and engage in the conversation. There is nothing to fear when we are listening, because all of the information is coming to us. We are not hurting each other, merely listening to what is being imparted.

Engage by asking probing questions;

  • Does that interest you?
  • How do you feel about that?
  • Is there more there that we should discuss?
  • Tell me more…
  • What can I do in that regard?

Any additional question or comment to keep the dialog moving can only help. Try not to use the word “No” until you’ve listened to everything said. He or she may be nervous and not get the words right at first. Give them room to expand and listen while they relax and get comfortable with the exchange.

I suggest never getting angry during times of conversation especially during the holiday season.  By remaining calm we have a better chance of getting our thoughts out clearly. And as the listener, anger dulls the senses and makes really understanding much more difficult.

With anything, this takes practice and it takes two people. If one is angry, neither is ready for a conversation. If one is distracted neither can communicate. And if one is incapable, neither have a chance to properly share.

So, give it a try and let me know what comes of it. You may get a surprise, you may find something you didn’t know or you may just connect better than ever before. In any case, let me know how it goes. Your story may be what helps the next reader have a holiday to remember.

As always,

Love with no shame and ask with no fear

Bobby

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The Professor and Interpersonal Relationships

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Last week, I had the privilege of sitting in a class room at Appalachian State University. It was Friday morning, 9:00AM and the room had just finished a test. The lecture hall was full with 55 students present. The professor, Jan Woods, was teaching accounting and as I said, the room was full! On a Friday! Many lecture halls we either empty or woefully under attended. What the hell was going on. These kids were supposed to be ready for the weekend and a Football game. And yet they were all here and engaged in the conversation.

Now, let’s cover all of the details; Jan Woods has been voted “Most Likable Professor” on several occasions, she has a score of 4.4 on Rate My Professor.com and the real key is that she loves what she does. She has been teaching at the University for more than ten years and it DOESN’T show. Jan acts as if each day is her first. As I watched, the students never got off track, they listened intently and asked pointed questions. Every interaction was met with equal enthusiasm. No question was out of line or considered irrelevant. These kids were there because they wanted to be there, not because of any parental obligation.

The time went by at a blinding pace and before I knew it, the class was over. I was disappointed to see it end. And apparently, so were several of the students. When class was dismissed, there was no mad rush to the doors. Every other class I had ever attended finished with students closing their books, gathering materials five minutes prior to the end of the session, and assuming a runners stance in order to sprint out the door. Nothing of the sort on this day. The students causally collected their things only after being dismissed. They milled around, chatted and several remained after to discuss issues with the latest assignments. They’re in college, so I know they realize it’s Friday. RUN!!! Be free! It’s the weekend…

And Jan stayed to speak with each one who needed her advice. She shared her schedule and gave them additional times to see her if needed. Without hurry, she shared herself with every student and only when they were gone, did we leave also. It was a stark difference from what I had been used to in my collegiate days.

The REAL Difference…

As fascinating as it was to watch and be part of the interactions between Jan and her students, there was nothing secret about what the real difference was. You see, Jan loves her students and they love her. She makes it personal to teach them and accepts the responsibility as both a privilege and an honor. What happens after that is the magic. Accounting and Introduction to Business have the potential to be the most boring classes of a students career. The information is dry and very little changes from one year to the next. And yet you could never tell while in her class room. The magic is really in the relationship.

The dawning realization washed over me, that this is what everyone should strive to achieve. We are all teachers in our own worlds. We teach and learn from each other on a daily basis. It can be our work relationships, our friends and families and of course, our own children. However, accepting the responsibility as both a privilege and an honor is the challenge. It is only through the love of the experience that we can preform to the Level Professor Woods has achieved.

Consider that every interaction sends a message out into the world. When we deal with associates at our work place, they in turn, go home and the impact is either shared or indirectly transferred to their families. They take this new experience and pass it along as well. We see this more clearly in teaching as with Mrs. Woods. The students accept the lessons from her, but more importantly, they accept them willingly through the spirit of her teaching. They help each other with assignments and are eager to share. Her impact goes far into the world in that she is preparing these students for a life journey. And so are we with our families and especially our children.

Making a Difference…

Knowing the power of relationships, it gives me pause to look at what’s going on in my world and see what impacts I am making on those within my circle of influence. I challenge you to do the same. We can not hide from the fact that we touch others everyday and in ways we may not see or understand. Ask yourself; what message and I sending my children? Am I being the person I want others to see as? Are my actions in accordance with my expectations? Am I who I want to be?

Think about the message into the world as you teach a child to read, to play a musical instrument, to play with others or to love. Your message will carry on for years to come. That same child will absorb and translate what he has learned, so consider making it something you wish to have returned to you. Your message will live on in the heart and minds of those you touch and there is no exception.

The ongoing theme of our writings here at RLA Advisors is communication. Talk, discuss, communicate do what it takes to make better relationships and enjoy each other. At the same time, we understand that changing the world means changing ourselves. We have no power to force a change upon another human being, but if we choose to behave differently, then we will receive something in return. Don’t like what you see in others? Look within and make a change. If that doesn’t do it, don’t be afraid to repeat the process.

Last weeks article was about the power of choice and here again, that choice resides solely within us as individuals. Choose to be that person who makes a difference. I know Jan does and I can’t thank her enough for her efforts.

Now go make a difference in the lives of people you love. Let me know your success stories. What you do touches and moves the universe. Be kind and see what you get in return…

Love with no shame and ask with no fear

Bobby

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Relationship Breakthrough Challenge-Part 4

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Male and female sign entangled XSmallThis is the final post in the Relationship Breakthrough Challenge.  We are about to uncover the truth and uncover your choice of destiny.  However if you would like to read the previous three posts you can by clicking the link below…

Relationship Breakthrough Challenge – Part 1

Relationship Breakthrough Challenge – Part 2

Relationship Breakthrough Challenge – Part 3

Now let’s dig in.

Before you go to work on your man, try to fix him, or try to fix your relationship you need to find out what TRUTH is.

What do you think truth is?

Most people think truth is something verifiable.  Some people think their beliefs are “the truth”.  Others think feelings are truth.

None of those are “the truth”.  In fact, the truth is made up by what ever you say.

What?  I can see your eyeballs bulging trying to figure out if I’m insane.

Consider that what you think is truth is just a series of beliefs, meanings, and things that were completely made up.

I’ll use an extreme example.  It was the truth many years ago that women stayed home and didn’t work.  That was a belief that was held for a long time.  It was held as TRUTH.

Until it changed.

Everything in our world is built on what we believe to be true and not true.  Until it’s proven otherwise.

So I challenge your beliefs of what you think are true.  But I’ll get into that more in just a minute.

Why do you react the way you do?

Who’s driving your bus?  Who makes decisions for you.  It’s certainly not the you that you think.  It’s actually all the past experiences you’ve used to create your model of the world.  Your decisions and your experiences all shape who you are today.  You react to things because something happened in the past that gave you some “truth” about how to act.

I’ve used examples like this before… if you were dating someone and they cheated you form an opinion about that situation. Your brain starts to “see” patterns that might give you an indication that your man is cheating.  You do it without knowing you do it.  And here’s the kicker, it’s happened so many times you believe what you’re interpreting as the truth.  You see him talking to another woman and you immediately believe he is cheating.

That is your past experience being used to create a belief that you have as true.

As you can see, it’s the past that’s causing you to react the way you do.

In order to get to the TRUTH you first have to be ok that how you react may not be TRUE.  Some people find it hard to give up being right long enough that their model of the world may not be the TRUTH.  It’s like when people said the earth was flat.  It’s hard to give it up until you challenge it.

I’m asking you to challenge it.  Because when you do, you’ll find that you begin to gain power over being at the affect of life and truly gain a level of choice in your life.

What is choice, really?

One of the definitions of “Choice” by Merriam-Webster is the act of choosing and having a variety to choose from.

Consider that you’ve been living your life without choice.  Because you’ve been reacting to things that happen given by your past and what you think is true, you haven’t been choosing anything.

It’s just been an illusion.  In fact it’s your past that has been driving everything you do and you’ve never truly chosen anything.

So how do you choose?  When an event happens you have to stop, before you react, and ask yourself why am I about to react this way.  Think back to the earliest time you can remember that may have caused you to be that way.  That past experience is what is causing you to react at a subconscious level.  If you accept that and acknowledge that it no longer has to be that way, new openings for action arise.

You gain choice.

You see, it’s the choices and decisions you make that guide you down paths in life.  It’s the meaning you give the results that shapes how you see the world.  It’s how you see the world that gives you your actions.

Choice ultimately shapes your life.

How does choice shape your life?

Your actions are always congruent with how you see the world.

For instance, if you think your man is cheating (that’s how you see things) then you will act in accordance with that.  All your actions will be given by your suspicion that he is cheating.  And if that’s the case then you are shaping your life in that way.

If you can separate yourself from the meaning you’ve automatically given things and reassign a meaning you would be better suited to live with it’s possible to shape your life into anything that you want.  And that zooms into your relationship as well.

If you are having relationship troubles then look to YOU first and ask yourself some questions…

Why do I react that way?

What meaning did I give that?

What do I make it mean about me?

What can I change the meaning into that would allow me to have new openings for action?

You’ll notice that everything begins to shift in your life and your relationship.  Try it on.  See how it works and let me know what your results are.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short series and I’m sure if you’ve applied some of these strategies you will have already had a breakthrough in your relationship.

Love… to infinity and beyond.

Jay

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Who’s Fault is it?

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Today, I intend to have a conversation about faults. In this context, when I use the word “fault”, it is not to define blame. However, we as people inter-relating to one another tend to find fault in each other. It is common to look at a situation and say, “It’s not my fault”. This assesses blame but it also intimates the existence of a flaw. In other words, a problem has come up and due to an error, we can qualify the issue and possibly correct it, based on some faulty behavior.

This works well if we are studying industrial technologies, but not so well when dealing with our interpersonal relationships. You see, when we assign fault to someone or something, we have made them or it devalued or wrong. Faulty in some regard and therefore, not working properly. They have malfunctioned in some way. It makes things very easy but at the same time, we don’t get a chance to understand or gain power within a relationship. By assigning blame or stating a fault, we end the brain power needed to continue to analyze the situation. More over, we have placed that person, thing or circumstance in a default position of being problematic.

Let me explain; if a child arrives home with a report card that has a failing or sub-par grade in math, he or she shares it with their parents. The child knows that they could have done much better and they are ready for the consequences. Upon review the mother states that she was not good at math either. The student is now off the hook and for no other reason than the mother has stated such. But, the child and the mother have ended the possibility of improvement. The brain is a funny thing in that, if it doesn’t have to work on something, it won’t! And in this case, the parent was the one who shut down.

Now this is a broad generalization, but understand that we have the power to continue to work through an issue or we can assign fault and stop all thought. What are the child’s expectations as he or she reaches adulthood? “I am not good at math and neither will my children be” So, when the check bounces, “It’s not my fault”. When I fail to stick with a budget, “It’s not my fault”. When the kids are not doing well in school, “It’s not my fault”.

Plainly put, if we choose to assign fault, the brain will accept the results without question. That’s just the way it is.

Really?

You Get What You Give

When we choose to look at life through the lenses of fault and blame, we tend to get more of what we find problematic. For instance, the child received a poor grade in math. They were reprogramed to accept the mediocrity. As an adult the same issues kept arising. And, as a parent, were ready to accept the same for their children. The blame and fault permeate our lives if we choose to allow them to do so. And the patterns repeat because the brain has been signaled to give up. We have told our brain to allow the problem to exist and remain, because we have reigned ourselves to “That’s just the way it is”.

As I said before, the brain is a funny thing. It works to protect us at every turn. It keeps us from walking into traffic, from getting burned on a hot stove, or from a bad relationship. The brain will work endlessly on a problem until solved. But tell it to quit working because “That’s just the way it is”, and voilà, end of discussion, no more to do, the problem is solved!

And How is Any of This My Fault?

It’s not your fault at all, but I wanted to give you the distinction. You see, if we think of people in our lives as having faults, our brains are trained through language to see them as defective, flawed or malfunctioning. Have you ever heard someone say, “I love him despite all his faults”? This is an indication that, although in love, assignment of defects had occurred and will continue to manifest itself throughout the relationship.

More than that, just look at the person for who they are. They are who they are and nothing more. Put another way, they are without fault, they just are who and how they are. Nothing more and certainly nothing less.

You see, a person is the way they are and we can either choose them or not. But consider, if we choose to be with a person despite their faults, there will come a time when, by assigning such fault, that is all we will see in them, their faults. And really they are just being themselves.

She would be perfect if she could just cook. He would be great if only he would talk more. And as soon as these “faults” are fixed, we’ll move on to the next one and the one after that. Why? Because the “fault” is what we are concentrating on. We have not accepted the person for them, rather we have expected to “fix” the problem and the problem is always there for us.

Acceptance begins with seeing another person as they are and nothing more. He is not a good husband despite his faults, he is simply a good husband. She is not a great mother despite her faults, she is only a great mother.

So the question is, “How is any of this my fault?” Ponder this, maybe it’s not a fault at all, it’s just a way of being.

As always,

Love with no shame and ask with no fear

Bobby

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What’s Your Style of Fore Play?

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Now before you go down a different road, let me explain the question.

Recently, while in a coaching session, I was discussing results of a group interaction with my team leader. The team leader is another coach. We covered quite a few areas of human behavior within and without the group. I had an issue with one of my group in that she was not responding as I had wished. Further, I was having difficulty probing her and gaining information to motivate her into action. It may seem odd that I write this blog about how to make things work with relationships and then I myself have the same or similar problems. I even discussed this in a recent article, the link is here for you to review: Making Any Relationship Work . I should think this  proves that even coaches need coaches.

This reality exists with us all. You see, we are the same at every level of our existence and no problem, behavior or issue is new to human kind. So yes, I have the same troubles. But my team leader was generous enough to share a perspective with me that I had not yet discovered. When I explained what I perceived to be road blocks in the discussion with my teammate, and that I would shut off the conversation at the point I thought the resistance would go to hurt feelings, he asked if this was “fore play”?

Fore play? I had never considered the context outside of the implied sexual content. His point was that we all have a style of fore play that brings us to the main act. So let ask again; What’s your style of fore play?

Fore Play in Everyday Life?

Given that the woman I was attempting to coach is a very nice, educated, hard-working adult and I could not get what I wanted. There had to be more I was missing. I gave up in the conversation and possibly didn’t provide her enough space to open up and join in the conversation because, in her mind, the fore play was not over.

What a concept! It makes my outlook on conversational resistance change 180 degrees! Is it possible that people have this need for a style and approach to conversation? YES! And to prove the theory I began a discussion and a fact finding mission. It’s not about being right, just finding a new distinction to share and create with.

My team leader went on about children. When a conversation takes place with a small child they are always eager to engage. They love the attention and the stimulation. Talking is new to them and they revel in it. Tell them to do their homework, take out the garbage, brush their teeth, go to bed, they know the end result, but does that stop them? Hell No! And here comes the fore play… Thousands of excuses, reasons why it can’t be done, asking for delays, pleading, but in the end, they just do it. Every child is different in the approach, but all children have this natural propensity to push back.

This is the set up for how engage in conversation throughout life. It doesn’t have to be bad or good, it’s just that we want to have a little massaging before we get to it. Now, knowing this gives me a new way to approach or look at how we get to the main act of life.

My team leader said he was certain that my girlfriend and I loved each other. I agreed.

He asked if there was ever a time when she would accompany me to an event that she really didn’t want to attend.

“Sure” I said, “There have been several occasions.”

“Did she argue or complain before going? And did you know she would support you in any case?” he went on.

I said, “Of course!”

“Consider this was her style of fore play”, he ended.

And It’s There Everyday

Now that I understand the reasoning and basic programing we all have about how we approach and are approached, I take the opportunity to view these “nuisances” as an availability to advance and progress the conversation. And having the distinction gives me great power in the conversation itself.

While I was writing this article, my girlfriend came into the office and asked that I hang a mirror in the bedroom. We relocated two weeks ago and both of us have been working hard to get the apartment in order. She was lucky enough to spend the pervious weekend at the beach leaving me to finish decorating and hanging pictures. So, rather than ask for a moment to finish, request that we do it another time, or just ignore her, I got up from my desk saying, “It’s not like I’m writing my article or anything important…”

Did you say, “Go brush your teeth and get ready for bed”?

And as I entered the bedroom, she asked,”Was that sarcasm I heard in your voice?”.

“Do it right now young man and no arguing!”

“No” I offered, “Just a little fore play”.

So Where Do We Go From Here?

As interesting as it is, and yet little known, this distinction can dramatically change how we react or interact with those in our lives. Just imagine the possibility of being in control of removing the fore play from the conversation and getting down to the “real thing”. Would you get more or less upset with your children? Would you be able to have a different kind of discussion with your relatives during the holiday seasons? Could you tolerate and understand the co-worker you have had issues with? The possibilities go on and on.

And now for the main act…

When she says, “I’m not in the mood”, is this her offer to begin fore play?

Don’t miss the sex because you don’t like the fore play. Relish it!

What’s that Dear? Yes, I’m almost finished…

Love with no shame and ask with no fear

Bobby

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