Challenge Old Beliefs – Feeding the Drive to Self-Actualize

The pandemic we find ourselves in has done more to upend our lives beyond health and economics. Staying occupied with thoughts of these two survival necessities has held us all captive to the internal strife within. Much like clinging to a 2-inch railing so we don’t plunge off a 60-story building. The obsession allows for little more. The result is a stalling of our true purpose – the drive to self-actualize.

It is important that we continue our progress despite our current state. I am not saying that you should disregard either your health or your money needs. These must be taken care of to maintain and support life. But when this is all we accomplish during the day, life grows stale. Without realizing it, we soon find ourselves fighting the inevitable listlessness that such striving produces.

The Road to Recovery starts now.
The Road to Recovery starts now. You’ll find beauty around the corner. (“Newfound Gap Road – Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN” by pvarney3 is marked under CC PDM 1.0. To view the terms, visit

Breaking free from the drone of lack, slack and indifference is no easy task. It takes courage, fortitude, and determination. It takes a strong-willed effort to move freely through the concrete bonds of apathy to return to full purpose and discovery. Sometimes we need a little push, a little emotional jumpstart.

It is my hope that this blog will give you that jumpstart. That here you will find help on your way back to the path you were born to take. To the goals you were meant to accomplish. To the life you were meant to live.

We will explore new ways of thinking, inspiration, encouragement, and guidance to life’s mysteries. Our topics will include self-discovery, mind-body connection, perception, critical thinking, emotional healing, and much more. Motivating insight and knowledge to personalize. Open-minded differences of opinion are welcome.

If you are ready to:

  • Take back your life from the clutches of disheartenment;
  • Start or restart your personal growth journey;
  • Boost your day with a shot of optimism;
  • Find solace in a community of like-minded folks;
  • Expand your insight and intelligence; or
  • Open your mind to a deeper understanding of the world in which we live . . .

. . . make yourself a promise to tune into this online journal for five minutes a week.

I hope to see you jump on board. I’m looking forward to our journey together.

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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How to Communicate with Integrity – 7 Points to Prevail

Words have power. They can soothe, uplift, empower, inspire, and create vivid mind pictures. They can also wound, deceive, manipulate, gaslight, and degrade. They can implore and they can demand. If integrity is your goal, it’s important to apply that virtue to the power of your words.

Integrity means being honest and morally upright. To communicate with integrity means employing honesty, compassion, and empathy. This form of communication demands that you speak forthrightly and ensure that the message you convey is sincere, relaying it’s meaning in understandable terms.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

It’s an honorable goal. So, why don’t people do it? It is because they focus on what their words mean to them. They sabotage their message by refusing to take into consideration the people they want to reach with their message. That communication is one-sided. Your focal point for good communication should be first and foremost on how the other person hears it; and then, using that knowledge, on how you convey that message.

When communication only indulges the speaker, it cannot be effective. Remember — it is not what you say, it is what people hear. If you want people to really hear you with 100% accuracy, they must also include the other party or parties. Here are seven elements to help you get it right.

1) Get to know your audience

Who is the person or persons you are talking to? What is the educational level? If it’s a group, what is the minimum level in the group. For understanding, you must use language appropriate to that level.

What is the person or group’s emotional quotient? A lower EQ may require more explanation of emotional issues. Or a more rational explanation. Any detail you can identify in your listener will give you clues how to talk so they can understand your position.

2) Develop an ear for how people hear you

It’s not what you say, it is what people hear. In the long run, people will forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel. Integrity demands that we communicate with empathy. Be cognizant of the feelings of the person you are communicating with. Speak with conviction laced with compassion. Use assertion, not aggression.

3) Be aware of what you don’t say

Watch out for subtext – when you may not say something outright. The listener may or may not infer meaning. It is best to be explicit in your talk, so your position is clear and concise. If there is something you need to avoid saying, your reason must be of upright intentions.

4) Determine your intent

Find your place of authenticity. Derive your intent from this place. What do you want to accomplish? How are both you and that person or group best served by your speech? Keep your values at the forefront as you converse.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

5) Recognize and hone the tools of communication

Use the following tools of communication to their greatest advantage: word order, emphasis, intonation, nonverbal communication, and auxiliary gestures. These elements complement your words and work together to convey just the right message. Hone them to perfection.

6) Get feedback

Be open to listening. Use reflective listening to really hear the other person’s meaning. You must determine if you are both understanding each other. Do not be afraid to ask for clarification.

7) Practice delivery and analyze what message was received

Use these tips in all your conversations, from personal to business. Later, in private, review your conversation. What did you do right? What could you improve on? If you felt you may have been misinterpreted, contact that other person and clarify.

Communication with integrity brings meaning to your relationships. Words have power. Direct your words to reveal exactly what you want them to say. Deliver them with accuracy and authenticity.

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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Four Reasons Why You Should Allow Your Opponent to Talk First in an Argument

People like to talk. And they like to be heard. Notice when two people are arguing how both parties compete with one another to talk over the other. No one is listening. When this happens without pause, no one can be heard. Nothing is accomplished. They might as well be talking to the wind.

While wanting to be recognized and heard is an innate characteristic we all have, there are advantages to stepping back, being quiet, and listening instead. The real advantage lies in being the listener. To gain this upper hand, you must quell the impulse within and concentrate on listening to your opponent. Here are four very good reasons to do just that:

1) Listening Indicates Respect

When you are quiet so that your opponent can speak his/her mind, you validate their feelings and show respect for their opinions. It is hard to feel antagonistic toward someone who gives you that level of respect.

What you get in return: Your opponent feels validated and becomes more open to hearing your opinion. They let their guard down. This sets the environment for meaningful communication.

2) Acquiring Perspective

Employ active listening. When you listen with an ear to really hearing what your opponent is saying, you gain perspective into his/her mind. To hear someone is to place yourself in their shoes and understand where they are coming from. Often, learning new information from another person’s point of view will change how you see the issue. When you can identify with their point, it becomes personal.

Knowledge is power. When you get information about your opponents’ wishes and desires, you gain strategic influence.

What you get in return: You gain insight in the intent, motivations, and desires of your opponent. You experience their side within yourself. Changing how you view the issue will help you work toward a resolution everyone can benefit from.

3) Coming to a Feel-Good Solution

If your goal is a win-win result, the best of all outcomes, listening gets you past the stalemate of inaction. You’ll never reach a conclusion until there is progress in exchange of ideas. The only way to do that is for one side to hear the other and vice versa. A lesson today’s politicians should learn.

What you get in return: It starts the process toward mutual resolution. The process cannot begin between two stubborn people demanding the other give in to their desires.

4) Changing Your Opponent’s Perception

To be the first to stop and listen puts you in the driver’s seat. You gain the leadership advantage. When you allow your opponent the first expression, you are steering the course of the argument.

Leading with your unexpected action gives you the advantage because you are perceived as confident in your stance. Taking the high road is not an easy thing to do. It is the mark of a leader.

What you get in return: There are two advantages here. One, it puts you in control. You are in the driver’s seat in this process. Two, your opponent now sees you as confident enough in your position to step back and let him/her talk – adding value to your persona.

In conflict, it’s a natural desire to aggressively force your position ahead. But if you want to move toward resolution, you’ll be the one to lead the strife into a win-win end. By stepping back, you step forward.

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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Stop Lashing Out – When Anger Wins, We all Lose

Anger seems to be taking over everything. New expressions on the age-old emotion have showed themselves in road rage, Internet and social media rants, and harmful behavior directed toward total strangers. A new wave of belligerent travelers are now attacking airline staff in the confined space of our skies. What has happened to us?

The stresses of a life-threatening pandemic combined with our already fast-paced, technological world are getting on everyone’s nerves. Entitled people think it’s their way or no way. We all operate on a short fuse these days. But that does not give us license to lash out at people.

A disclaimer, before we get into the steps you can use to get control of your anger — If your anger issues are the result of a medical condition, seek help from the healthcare community. Depression, alcohol and/or drug abuse, grief, or anger-based mental health disorders are serious. You are best served going to the professionals for help.

For the rest of us, here are some ways you can take control before anger controls you:

Before An Angry Situation Arises . . .

  1. Get plenty of exercise. Physical activity reduces stress.
  2. Put humor into your life. Lighten up with laughter. Listen to comedy. Perspective and your ability to control how you perceive your world is paramount to a positive world view. See the humor in every moment.
  3. Spend a few moments each day doing deep breathing exercises. Take relaxation breaks. Meditate. These activities help you gain the control you need when you need it.
  4. Work on your empathy skills. When we can place ourselves into the shoes of someone who makes us angry, we are less likely to place blame and ridicule.
  5. Put the brakes on rumination. Misplaced aggression, the result of reliving an experience over and over in your mind, can cause you to lash out at innocent people and pets. Ban it from your life.

During a Conflict . . .

Image by 95C from Pixabay
  1. If possible, remove yourself from the situation. Putting time and distance between you and another person who is the cause of your anger, allows you to calm yourself, think rationally, and be able to speak without raising your voice.
  2. Take control of your reactions. Stop. Breathe a slow, calming breath. (If you’ve practiced, this comes easier during stressful and challenging times). Remember, you own your reactions, they don’t own you.
  3. Focus on finding a win-win solution. Allow your creativity to distract your impulsivity. Pull your empathy for their position into your resolution.

After the Encounter is Over . . .

  1. Don’t ridicule your response. We are all human. But learn from it. What could you have done differently? Did your actions escalate or de-escalate the circumstances?
  2. Apologize if you were in error.
  3. So often, how we respond to another’s anger determines the outcome. Lashing out may initially feel good, but regret can follow if our actions/reactions were less than we expected them to be.
  4. Forgive, regardless of who was at fault. Don’t allow the bitterness to build. That only hurts you in the long run.

Use these suggestions to fine-tune your response and gain control over your anger.

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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Character and Choice – How will You Make your Mark on the World?

You’ve had a rough day. Everyone is on your case — from the boss’s morning tongue-lashing to the parking attendant scowling at you as your leave. As you drive down the freeway, some idiot cuts you off. That’s it. The veritable straw to break your back. Without reserve, you lash out at the driver jumping in front of him and brake checking him until he swerves onto the shoulder. Now, do you feel better?

Good people can turn into monsters when they’ve been abused. And there seems to be a lot of exploitation going around these days. But abuse engenders abuse, starting a chain reaction of despair, hopelessness, and further corruption as it travels on its mission of cruelty.

You may feel justified lashing out. After all, you didn’t deserve the treatment you received. It all builds until you must retaliate. And retaliate you will in a blaze of glory. It’s healthy, you say, all that pent-up anger needs to go somewhere. Whoever gets in your way, that’s their problem.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

This righteous indignation pervades our consciousness. With the rise of Internet voice and its anonymity, more and more people claim as their right to spout whatever vitriol comes into their minds, giving their simmering hatred a vent. Thereby pushing others into the same misbehavior.

On top of that, we refuse to hold each other accountable. We look at entitled and arrogant people as if they were heroes. Dismissing their manner to platitudes like: Oh, they had a bad childhood or They’ve had so many challenges in their life, they can’t help how they are or It’s just human nature.

Before you slip into ignorant naivete, consider the story of one ambassador of hope and stellar character to this dismal cause and effect. Her name is Maggie, and she’s not even human. But she puts many a human to shame. Maggie has suffered horrific mistreatment at the hands of victimizers, links in the never-ending chain of savagery and brutality. Her body has been pummeled with BB pellets, her eyes torn from her body, her unborn children killed from the ravages inflicted on her body.

If any dog, other animal, or person endured what she has, we certainly would expect an angry and aggressively destructive personality. But Maggie is friendly. She loves everyone she meets. And her life positively touches many, many souls. She works as a therapy dog, giving comfort, joy and peace to humans who most need her love. In one photo she sports a sign that reads: In a world where you can be anything . . . Choose to be kind. Her life exemplifies this axiom perfectly.

So, the next time you’re having a bad day, and think it’s so bad you’ve earned the right to lay in a path of destruction yourself, think about Maggie. Are you going to let a dog show superior character to yourself?

Remember – Your choices define who you are. And who you are determines your life’s contribution. How will you be commemorated?

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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Why I Believe it is Crucial to Rise Above Materialism

In my six decades of life, I’ve known people from all walks of life. The range includes from the highly successful to the folks who struggle to make it through another day. What’s interesting is that within the two extremes are very diverse attitudes on money and the quest for materialism. The bias is not always where you would expect it. There are people who have more money than they’ll ever need who are not materialistic and there are people whose struggle makes them greedy for the good life.

Materialism can be defined as an obsession with obtaining money, material objects, and the prestige that goes with the first two. The emphasis is on obsession. The dominate thought that focuses on those lofty trio of goals. When material pursuits preoccupy your interests, there is little room for anything else.

You may not think that is a bad way to live. After all, doesn’t success spell happiness? And isn’t happiness what we are all about? Lend me a moment and I will tell you my three reasons for banishing materialism from my life.

I choose a superior peace of mind. There is some evidence to the premise that money can make you happy. The idea is that money and materialism motivate a person to improve their standard of living. And that that motivation positively influences your satisfaction in life.

The point this theory misses is that monetary satisfaction, while offering some happiness, falls far short of a greater return. You do yourself a disservice when you derive your satisfaction solely from your monetary conquests.

I don’t want to be enslaved to materialistic leaders. People who are materialistic idolize those who seem to hold the key to what they desire. And in the process seek to glom onto their idols’ coattails. The thought is “If I associate with this leader who has obtained the same success that I want for myself, then I will be sure to get what I am after.” In the process, followers dismiss, disrespect, and step all over people they deem to have failed. They not only treat people badly, but they miss out on the many wonderful benefits of knowing the nonmaterialistic individual.

Even though the enslaved idolize their leader, there is often a seething envy and resentment toward that materialistic deity. These are two feelings that I see as destructive rather than beneficial to my life.

My time is better spent in pursuits of the heart. I value the time I have. And I’ve been lucky enough to get a glimpse of the joys that come with a nonmaterialistic mindset. I have met kind, wonderful, altruistic folks whose examples made more of an impression with me than any self-made millionaire. I gain the most life satisfaction from humble goals and the drive to contribute in the most positive way that my qualities and characteristics can furnish. The priceless, but often most difficult to acquire, state of mind lies not in the hunt for more and more “stuff” , but in living a life that makes a difference.

If you try to capture “things” to make you happy, you’ll come to the end of a materialistic existence only to discover that you missed the most valuable of all “possessions” – the intangible rewards of an unselfish life.

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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What is ASMR?

When I was a child, if someone were to whisper into my ear, I would get a tingly sensation running from my spine down my back and into my legs. The gentle force of that person’s breath against my ear created this sensation. I would invariably shrink away saying “That tickles.” Though I didn’t know it then, my response has its roots in one of today’s hottest trends.

ASMR or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response has become a relatively new adult phenomenon that has found fame on YouTube. Certain sounds or music are claimed to produce a “brain massage” or “brain-gasm” in the listener. It is most often defined as a pleasurable feeling or tingling sensation that begins in the scalp running down the body. The ASMR response is triggered by many different types of stimuli: crinkling paper, scalp massage, whispers, humming, playing with the hair, fanning a book’s pages; the list is limited only by the recipient’s individual reaction.

Image by andreas160578 from Pixabay

Introduced in 2010, (by Jennifer Allen – you can read her story here), ASMR has fast become another method for producing relaxation in our ever more stressful world. Adherents put on headphones and listen to videos, or enlist a partner to play with their hair, or sign-up for massages. Many recorded sessions are geared toward helping the listener to fall asleep.

Initiating a stimulating trigger, the recipient will almost immediately begin to feel a relaxing, almost sedative-like state. Accompanied by other emotions such as happiness, calming, and pleasure, the condition is becoming highly sought after. Unlike the similar experience of frisson, whose sensory response is usually a chill accompanied by goosebumps brought on when listening to music, this is a more serene and longer lasting state of mind.

Unfortunately, not everyone experiences this sensation. Where meditation, if practiced regularly, allows anyone to reap the rewards of a peaceful, relaxed state, ASMR is biologically selective in its chosen beneficiaries. Since not everyone can experience it, some question its existence.

Science has now gotten involved and has begun to study the phenomenon. Recognized as different from other atypical sensory events, as in the case above, there is much to learn about this experience. But science is clearly at the beginning stages of investigation. Significant evidence and solid, proven methodology are years, if not decades, away.

However, there exists many, many anecdotal reports. Though not scientific, they are very compelling.  My guess is that the answer lies within the individual’s sympathetic nervous system and how susceptible or sensitive that person is to environmental stimuli. Only time and experimentation will bring accurate answers to its mysteries.

There is only one way to find out if you can reap the benefits of ASMR. Try it out for yourself. Triggers can be anything you hear, see, smell, or touch that brings up a pleasurable feeling in you. Remember, ASMR is a unique experience to everyone so you must do your own discovery to find what gives you its euphoric pleasure.

Side Note: My personal experience with ASMR was not what I expected . . .

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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Truth Seeker or Phony? – There is a Difference

Recently, the term “Truth Seeker” has garnered a bad name for itself. The name appears to have been snatched from a group of honest people with original thought and integrity in intention and action. Stolen by people whose previous connotation was and should continue to be aptly named “conspiracy theorists.” Those who are determined to cleanse their reputation and put a more acceptable label on it at the expense of authentic seekers.

I am a truth seeker. I offer an example of a recent truth I sought out. I don’t believe Covid-19 is a hoax. It is a very real and ominous threat to our way of life. When it started, I was skeptical. My only knowledge of such events was through past iterations of the flu. Yes, people died. It happens every year. So, what was all the fuss? I analyzed the data I was receiving and sought out both sides of the issue. As the numbers progressed and were reported, as stories of its destruction arose, as health care providers’ personal stories emerged, and as I sought out one-on-one advice from medical professionals (the people who are on the front line and have the most knowledge), I began to realize that there was more to the pandemic than what I initially thought.

When the vaccine became available for everyone, I signed up. I still had concerns about it due to the quick turn-around from inception to release. But I knew, by this time, that getting the shot was not only for my protection but for everyone else’s protection also. I became fully vaccinated at the beginning of April of this year.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The bad rap “truth seeker” is getting runs parallel with another absconded term: “critical thinker.” Critical thinking is the key to working toward truth. A simplistic definition would be “gathering facts, examining all sides of an argument, reflectively analyzing the whole, and coming to your own personally formed opinion, free of mob influence.” It is a complex concept. You will find a more integrated definition at The Foundation for Critical Thinking.

Critical thinking is a desirable concept. In the university where I earned my undergraduate degree, it was held up as the highest aim of that institution’s goal for each of its students. Critical thinking moves an organization, a business, a society, a culture forward toward the elusive ultimate truth.

Do not be deceived. Truth seekers are:

  • People who authentically explore a belief, opinion, or previously supposed ideal to find their own truth. Then share that truth in the form of a logical argument.
  • People who are willing to give up on old conclusions in favor of fully thought-out, newly revised interpretations.
  • People who set political beliefs aside in their hunt for the truth.
  • People whose open-mindedness is pure and unselfish. They do not follow a blind mob rule mentality put forth by charismatic, but narcissistic leadership.

Truth seekers are not:

  • People who surreptitiously call themselves something else for self-centered reasons.
  • People who would bend and fold the truth into a subverted version to bolster their own egocentric agenda.
  • People who associate their truth-seeking activities with a political movement. Truth may be sought for political issues, but the process itself has nothing to do with politics.
  • People who follow herd mentality thinking before fully questioning the viability and authenticity of that concept.

We do ourselves a disservice when we label everyone who calls themselves a “truth seeker” as politically motivated, former conspiracy theorists. Instead, use some of your own critical thinking skills to root out the fakers from the genuine article. And don’t make the mistake of being taken in by the imposters.

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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Is it Time to Add the Neurodiverse HSP in Inclusivity?

The diversion, equity, and inclusion movement we find ourselves in right now is long overdue. Understanding and accepting another person’s differences is finally gaining acceptance in the workplace. Recognizing each person’s unique contribution.

One area of diversity yet to be recognized in this movement is that of neurodiversity. There are two types of intellectual and cognitive development: neurotypical and neurodiverse. Neurodivergent individuals differ from neurotypical people in neurological function. Examples of neurodivergent brain differences include autism and ADHD.

These differences are becoming accepted as normal differences rather than deficits. As John Elder Robison so succinctly put it, they are “the result of normal, natural variation in the human genome.

Part of this group of people are highly sensitive persons (HSPs). Variations in the nervous system of HSPs bring different perceptions to the HSP brain. HSPs are afflicted by loud noises, strong smells, bright lights, and itchy or irritating clothing. They are also deeply creative, moved by sensory experience, and aware of details and nuances in their environment.

HSPs deliver qualities to the workplace that non-HSPs are not as efficient at providing. As such, they should be recognized as positive additions to any field or profession. Instead, most are ostracized as quirky or weird.

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Empathetic Leadership

One of the most prominent traits in the highly sensitive is their ability to empathize on a phenomenal level. With everyone – from employees to board members and shareholders to the most diverse clientele. This empathy builds fairness, impartiality, and the ability to bring all together in a nonjudgmental way.

Strategic Planning

The age of power-focused individuals with a narrow spotlight on productivity and profit has run its course. Once prized, the act of stepping all over customers, clients, and employees in the name of competition or profit no longer serves business well. The aware masses are rejecting this strategy and taking their business elsewhere.

HSPs, with their trait of processing their thoughts on a deeper level are well suited to developing long term strategies that connect business goals, social awareness, technology, and realistic expectations together.


New business models that place an emphasis on what’s good for the planet, decreasing the carbon footprint, and increasing charitable outreach or lending aid to those who may need it are gaining in popularity. People wishing to support such causes research companies in search of like-minded entities. And they are moving their business.

The HSP loves beauty, nature, and all things connected with life. They are willing to speak their truth and venture into those areas that support that truth. They have the courage and conviction to bring about ideas in support of these new objectives.

Creativity in Problem Solving

HSPs are known for their depth of processing. They can take a problem and see nuances and details that might have previously been overlooked. They are keen at taking in subtle points. Then astute HSPs connect all that they’ve learned in an intuitive manner to come up with unique solutions.

Emotional Awareness

A trend in hiring today focuses on finding individuals with a high emotional quotient. An HSPs emotional awareness naturally leads them toward an exceptional EQ. They are comfortable in their own emotions, feeling them on a deeper level than most people. Through that experience HSPs know instinctively what others feel. They know what moves people, what drives them – their deepest desires. Sensitive employees connect with others on a more intimate level. All done with little or no effort. It’s an instinctual response.

HSPs have been shunned most of their lives. That childhood rejection has followed many, many of them into adulthood and the work force. If we are to include people with differences, it is important to acknowledge and open the movement up to highly sensitive employees and leaders.

If you are a highly sensitive person who is looking for advice and support, see my other blog, Mere Sense.

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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When an Agreeable Chameleon Turns on You – Kindness Gone Wrong

I once had a supervisor who had a very outgoing, super friendly, and outwardly kind demeanor. But she could and would turn on you in an instant. I was taken in initially by her outward appearance. I saw the kindness at its face value – as genuine and true kindness. But there were four or five instances where her demeanor took a 180 degree turn from kindness to nasty in a split second. It wasn’t long before I realized her true character.

I began to question whether what I was seeing 99% of the time was genuine as it appeared. I’d never taken the time to look past the surface, to evaluate the true motivation. I was so willing to accept what appeared on the outer level of our communication. This does not just apply to me. We all tend to want the interaction we share with people in our lives to be friendly and mutually beneficial. We especially crave it when we are not on the same positional level with that person. Falling prey to someone with more power than ourselves and the resulting manipulation could be devastating to our lives.

If we arm ourselves with knowledge, we can begin to build a solid defense.

Listen to Your Gut

Too often we ignore that internal sense that something is not right. That tingling in your gut, hairs that stand up on the back of your neck, mood shifts in that person’s presence. If you sense that warning within, don’t push it aside. Allow it to speak to you. What is it trying to say? If it is telling you someone is not being authentic, look a little closer, pay more attention to the nuances in their voice, their manner, and their speech.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Understand all the Reasons Someone May Be Outwardly Friendly

We hope that friendly is just that – friendly. The person you are interacting with likes and respects you and you like and respect them. But there are other unfriendly reasons someone may have to want to fake kindness.

  • Insecurity – that person is not confident in themselves and chooses friendliness as a superficial way to hide it
  • Appearances – that person wants to be known as a kind and good person
  • Control – that person uses kindness as a confrontational style
  • Manipulation – that person thinks they can get you to do what they want by being kind to you
  • Validation – that person likes the attention that an outgoing, overly friendly demeanor gives them

Tread with Caution

If you find yourself in a situation where someone consistently fakes friendliness and you discover a destructive purpose in their use of fake friendliness, keep your distance. If that is not possible, if you are forced to deal with someone like this, tread cautiously. Don’t take their behavior personally, but don’t fall into their trap either. Awareness keeps you informed. Be assertive when required and keep your own behavior genuine.

I am a great advocate of genuine kindness. But the key here is genuine. There is a quote, whose origin is unknown, that states “Honesty without kindness is brutality and kindness without honesty is manipulation. If we keep authentic kindness as our guide, we can navigate any phoniness that comes our way.

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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Devising a Fool-proof Plan to Deal with Difficult People – 3 Essential Components

Reciprocal relationships are the ideal. The give-and-take that allows for equitable contribution and advantages promotes healthy growth for both parties. At the heart of a healthy relationship is a base of empathy and authenticity in both parties. In a perfect world every relationship you form would fall into this mutually beneficial design.

But in our increasingly self-absorbed world, you are statistically bound to enter relationships that are one-sided and even dangerous. Power and self-promotion are aggressive and predatory traits that lie at the base of these destructive relationships. And, as with all negative traits, they take over and subvert any hope of a good, solid relationship.

Unfortunately, some of these relationships are necessary. Work, social, familial – any situation that forces you to interact with someone who falls into the category of difficult person makes avoiding these people altogether impossible. So, to protect yourself, you must formulate a plan and stick to it when dealing with them. Here are some key components to devising a plan that works.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Set Your Boundaries

You are a distinct person. So is the person you are dealing with. Separate, with different histories, different motivations, different perspectives and goals. If you are dealing with someone who is motivated by power, you will have to know yourself, your values, and your limits, and know them well. Any wavering on your part may be an invitation for exploitation. Knowing where they lie and becoming confident in asserting them is essential.

Bring Empathy to the Interaction

We all have wounds in our past. These wounds shape how we interact with people. Keep in mind that you will not know the extent of a person’s challenges, the kind of injuries that make someone behave the way they do. If you knew a person’s complete history, it might appall you. If you remember this while you are interacting with these people, it will make it easier for you to separate the person from their behavior.

Important: Empathy is a double-edged sword. Having empathy for a person’s past does not mean you allow that person to dominate or manipulate you, which brings us to our final component.

Commitment to Calm Assertion

Dealing with power-driven people is a trigger for your hot buttons. They love to gain control over you and you losing command of your anger is proof to them that they are in control. Use discipline and firm assertion to get your point across without raising your voice, flying off the handle, or resorting to violence. If hot-button issues are a challenge for you, work on your EQ. Practice calming your mind when pushed and take up practices like meditation for serenity and peace.

You can’t change someone else’s behavior, but you can be a model of healthy behavior to look up to. Difficult people often strive to win on their own terms. With a dedicated plan and calm, but firm, assertion you can stop their manipulations dead in their tracks.

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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