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How to handle challenging people?

We don’t live in a perfect world and therefore meet all different kind of people. Additionally, we often hold unrealistic expectations about others and our relationships with them. Expecting people to share our values and behave exactly the way we would will certainly lead to disappointment and frustration. Reflecting on and understanding our interactions with others, on the other hand, can take the emotions out of a tense situation and allow a bit of distance, perspective, and empathy to better interact with those whom we like and don’t like. 

1. Don’t take it personally
Remember, the fact that someone behaves in a rude way doesn’t necessarily make them a bad human, especially if you know and like the person and their behaviour seems to be out of character. We all have bad days, and while it is certainly not a good idea to take our frustration out on others, we are all guilty of this from time to time.

While it isn’t easy to consider the feelings of a person who acts in an obnoxious way, it can certainly help you deal with their rudeness if you realise that they behave this way because they have been scared or hurt in life. It is crucial to protect the positive space around you, so take the power away from the obnoxious person by remembering that their words do not define you and choose to treat it as their problem and not yours. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent”.

2. Is it really about them?
Our self-perception can affect the way we perceive others. Consequently, it is worth considering whether your feelings of offence or hurt are caused by your very own, deep-rooted insecurity, rather than the actions of somebody else? Someone’s hurtful remark may weight very heavily on your heart due to painful experiences from your past. This is why it is important to remember that the inner belief we hold of ourselves can affect the way we perceive our interactions with people. What we don’t like in others often mirrors exactly what we don’t like about ourselves. The good news here is that it is much easier to change your perception or attitude, rather than ask someone to change theirs.

3. Confront
It may be an idea to confront the obnoxious person and let them know, politely but in a confident manner, that they need to stop their behaviour, as you don’t appreciate it. You may consider using an ‘I’ statement e.g. “when you use that tone of voice, I feel attacked, don’t be surprised if I ignore you”. It is crucial to stay calm and avoid any aggressive behaviour as it can only escalate the situation. Also, while is important to set boundaries, remember that you don’t need to prove yourself to anyone and you don’t need to explain yourself.

4. Don’t over analyse and move on
Consider how much time and energy you spend on thinking of your encounters with rude individuals. After you tried being empathic and understanding, did some self-reflection, or confronted that person and things still haven’t improved you need to draw a line. Overanalysing the situation, the history of interactions, or worrying about what they think about you means simply giving your energy away. Allowing others to define us can also be a significant obstacle in developing and maintaining a healthy and realistic self-perception.

It is also advisable to limit your contact with the obnoxious person. If someone’s rude behaviour towards you becomes repetitive, adjust your expectations accordingly. That way you will be prepared for the situation and it won’t catch you by surprise. Another reaction worth considering is simply removing yourself from the situation. Walk away, even if they are still talking to you! As they say ‘out of sight, out of mind’.

It is crucial to accept that not everyone will like us, and equally, we won’t like everyone we meet. Conflicts and disagreements are an inseparable part of our life and while we cannot always control our circumstances, we can certainly control our attitude and response. And finally, let me share this great quote by Adisa Dimpfara Srijana with you:

“Consider all phenomena to be dreams. Be grateful to everyone. Don’t be swayed by outer circumstances. Don’t brood over the faults of others. Explore the nature of unborn awareness. At all times, simply rely on a joyful mind. Don’t expect a standing ovation”.

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Dealing with a break-up

A divorce or break-up can feel like bereavement.

Even the end of a bad relationship can feel like the loss of a planned future or of a dream. Grief can be draining, paralyzing and feel like depression however, it is not depression. Day by day the grief will shift, you can and will move on over time. Give yourself permission to feel and function at less than your optimum level. Sharing your emotions with a trusted friend helps to feel less isolated and less stressed. As with a bereavement, divorce also affects you physically as well as psychologically. While at this vulnerable place treat yourself as if you are ill. Rest, reduce your workload, minimize stress and make some positive changes.

  • Make time each day to do activities you find soothing.
  • Pay attention to what is right for you, say ‘no’ if its right for you. Honor yourself without angst as saying ‘no’ to others is saying ‘yes’ to yourself.
  • Sticking to a routine after a divorce helps make changes. Establishing a new structure brings about a sense of calm and normalcy.
  • Take time out, after a divorce you feel intense emotions. Wait a few months before changing jobs.
  • Explore new interest’s, divorce is a beginning as well as an end. Pursuing new interests helps bring new enjoyment to life.
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices. Exercise, eat well, sleep well and drink less.

  • Grow and learn from mistakes. Questions to ask yourself:
  • How did you contribute to the problems of the relationship?
  • How do you react to conflict, is there a more constructive way?
  • Consider whether you accept people as they are or do you try to change them?
  • Can you identify the sort of people you date? Are they good for you?
  • What can you do differently in other relationships?

Do you need help moving on or a trusting person to talk to?

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5 Effective Ways of dealing with Toxic People

The sad reality is that toxic people are common; we all come across them at one point or another. The boss who wants to discredit your achievements, the friend who injects pessimism into every situation, or the family member who enjoys pushing your buttons. Some of them seem to be unaware of their damaging impact on people around them, others thrive on creating chaos and causing upset.

While it’s impossible to avoid such people in our lives, it is important to protect yourself from their influence. Especially, as recent studies have shown that stress caused by interaction with toxic individuals can have a lasting, negative impact on one’s brain and really hurt your productivity and performance.

It is very useful to have some tested techniques on hand. Here are five of the best.

1. Distance yourself and stick to the facts
Don’t waste your time on trying to understand or explain their behavior. It is not possible simply because they operate in an irrational way. This is why in order to stay in control, you should distance yourself from toxic individuals emotionally and don’t let them mess with your emotions. Otherwise you are throwing yourself in their emotional chaos.

2. Don’t let them steal your joy
Don’t allow toxic individuals to control your happiness. For this reason train yourself to take other people comments with a pinch of salt, remembering that while everyone may voice their opinions, and in case of toxic individuals snide remarks, they have no bearing on your abilities and talents. They don’t, unless you let them.

3. Steer away from negative thoughts and focus on positive

Where you invest your focus and attention dictates your emotional state. Instead of dwelling on the situation caused by the toxic person and their crazy behavior, and therefore multiplying negative thoughts, focus on ways that will help you grow as an individual and improve your current position. Such an approach will help you to get back in control and feel stronger when facing toxic individuals.

4. Use interaction with toxic people for your personal growth
Focus your attention on lessons that you can derive from this situation. Your lesson may be to learn how to establish better boundaries or perhaps remembering to distance yourself from opinions of others. If you approach it that way, next time around you may deal with a similar situation in a more effective way.

5. Use your support network
Don’t try tackling the situation entirely on your own. In order to successfully deal with toxic people, you need to distance yourself from the approach you are taking and consider it in a critical way.

And what a better way of doing it then discussing the situation with somebody who is there to help. Identify the key individuals in your support network and get their insight on the situation. It will be invaluable, as their perspective is much clearer and their solutions much more straightforward, all because they haven’t invested their emotions in the toxic situation.

The only way to master your approach towards toxic individuals is to repeat the best practice behaviors over and over. With consistent, practical implementation of such behaviors you will eventually train your brain to handle toxic people and associated stress much more effectively.

Why Men Cheat

Most men are happy in marriage and not looking for a way out. However, when unhappy, men are not likely to express their worries / emotions / sex issues with a friend / family and certainly not with a partner. If a man feels his efforts, good intentions or contributions are not appreciated he will long for recognition yet feel guilty asking for his emotional needs to be met. Just like most women, men are emotionally driven and want a connection with their partner.

Most men don’t talk when they feel furious, criticised or insignificant.

They don’t talk when they feel their partner doesn't recognise they are trying.

Men see their silence as a way of protecting the marriage. They don’t consider ways of verbalising for fear thinking that:

Talking will evoke anger.

They preempt their partner won’t listen or that honesty will cause hurt.

They feel self-conscious and unwittingly send a message of avoidance, rejection, dis-interest, blame…

Meanwhile, the partner's posture is seen as an accusation and blame rather than the defence / cover for her emotions that it is.

It’s not easy to say “I think we are starting to lose something important in a marriage and I don’t want it to disappear”.

It is much easier to put feelings aside to deal with later and have an affair.

Surprisingly most men don’t cheat for sex or looks, they want to fill the emotional void. Often the affair starts at work (40%) where the female provides the compliments and praise not received at home. Men act differently to the lover in a way he has not been able to with their wife. They want to find in their lover what’s perceived to be missing in their wife. To meet their unspoken emotional needs it helps to set a tone of appreciation and thoughtfulness (so your man will match it). Dealing with awkward silences and pent-up emotions can be helped with fresh insight and a new perspective. 

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Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success. – Paul J. Meyer 

From the day we are born we try to express our thoughts and get out what we want to say however, being able to communicate in a clear manner can be very difficult, many people struggle with the challenge. Unclear communication has led to many unnecessary arguments between friends, families, couples, and perhaps even countries. Clear communication is something that takes practice. It is a skill that you can develop and acquire over time. You may struggle with it now but with practice and continued effort you will likely improve. Here are 13 ways to improve your communication skills:

1. Ask for an objective opinion

You struggle with communication but it would be interesting to know if others share that opinion. You could ask your friends, family members or teachers whether they agree with your self-evaluation. Their responses may surprise you. You may find you are much better at communicating than you give yourself credit for.

2. Practice with friends or family

Objective listeners may be able to identify unclear presentation of ideas.

3. Look for similarities and establish a connection

When meeting people always look for common ground, identify similar interests or hobbies. Steer clear from controversial topics, such as politics or religion.

4. Be a receptive listener
We love talking about ourselves. To become a powerful communicator, show genuine interest in the other person’s family, work, or any causes that are important in their life. As Dale Carnegie famously said “ Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours”.

5. Have other people read your work.

With regard to writing, sometimes we become “too close” to our work and no longer see where we may be making errors. An objective observer can point out overlooked mistakes.

6. Join a debate club

Debate clubs often foster skills such as articulating logical arguments and developing clarity of thought.

7. Read

Reading has many benefits. It’s like exercising the mind. It keeps us mentally sharp. You may want to read works by “great” writers. Opinions vary greatly but a list of great writers may include Tolstoy, Dickens, Hemingway, and many others. Another way to develop your communication skills may be to read editorials and news articles in prominent newspapers such as The Times. Pay attention to sentence structure, grammar, presentation of ideas, and so forth and it could help you to improve your skills. You may also want to consider reading books about communication.

8. Take a public speaking class
Many people avoid public speaking classes but if you’re interested in developing communication skills, I would highly recommend it. It could help you to be a more sensitive and deliberate communicator. Public speaking courses encourage an examination of our thoughts and beliefs and thus may lead to clarity of thought.

9. Make it a point to speak when you’d rather send a text or email.

It is okay on some occasions to write instead of speaking to someone directly but not if you do it to avoid the uncomfortable feeling associated with trying to express yourself. Try to force yourself to speak instead of writing. It may not be easy and it may be unpleasant at first but over time your communication skills may improve.

10. Develop good eye contact
Eye contact is vital for successful conversations. It shows attentiveness and interest in what is being said. According to research, consciously making eye contact during conversation conveys truth and honor. However, remember that good eye contact is a balancing act Too much can be seen as aggressive, while too little equals lack of interest in the person speaking.

11. Avoid judgment
For effective communication you don’t always have to agree with the other person’s believes or opinions. However, you should try to set aside your judgment and steer away from any criticism. This will help you to truly understand the person and make a deeper connection.

12. Don’t get fixed on what you want to say next
People can easily recognise when you are truly listening. Always make sure you listen before you speak and let others finish their points. Your patience and thoughtfulness will be appreciated.

13. Maintain a positive attitude

We tend to avoid people who are frequently miserable. Therefore, when communicating with others try to maintain a positive attitude towards life. If you smile more often, people will be more likely to respond positively to you.

While your communication skills won’t improve over night, it is worth taking time and effort to put above tips into practice. Considering that effective communication is one of the most important life skills we can learn, embarking on a long-term journey of improving your skills is crucial. Start today, it will be a journey you won’t regret.