Category Archives: Character Building

What Embarrassing Moments (and Your Response to Them) Tell Us About Ourselves

By Monica Nelson It’s one of those moments. Instant dread fills your heart, prickles of red burn in tiny pinpricks on your face, and you wish with all your might that you could reverse what just happened. Alas, you know better. You’ve just committed a faux pas – a blunder of magnanimous proportions (at least in your own mind). What comes next? How do you handle the moments, or even days, following such a lapse in apparently good judgment? When these situations happen to us, and they do happen, more than once in our lives, how people respond is a significant indicator of who they are as a person. In … Continue reading

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The Art of Transformation: 5 Absolute “Get Ready for Change” Musts

By Monica Nelson After a recent visit to the doctor for a physical, I was faced with a do or die decision. She had been telling me for a couple of years that I needed to stop ignoring my health, and make some changes. This time the numbers were too significant to ignore. She lectured me on the need to change my diet (lose weight) and start/maintain a consequential exercise program. It was too important to my quality of life to put aside any more. I had to make a transformation. Whether we face this kind of ultimatum, or we simply desire to make a change, transformation is necessary. It … Continue reading

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How to Stop Manipulative or Controlling Behavior in Close Relationships

By Monica Nelson Last week we talked about how manipulators who are also emotionally intelligent people can covertly exploit you. You are in particular danger if you are a sensitive and highly empathetic person. One word of warning before we start: If the manipulator or manipulators in your life are also physically abusive, you must take the proper steps to separate yourself from them. If you choose to use these steps to work on the relationship, be sure to do so in a safe environment with others present. Counseling settings are appropriate as safe environments. I urge you to take the time and effort to ensure your own safety. First … Continue reading

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Is Emotional Intelligence a Double-edged Sword? – Beware the EI Covert Emotional Manipulators

By Monica Nelson Empathy is a strong and mostly positive character trait. We value empathy for its power in encouraging good moral behavior in society, teaching our young the difference between right and wrong, and creating a philanthropic sensitivity toward the less-fortunate in our world. But, like so many other things, empathy can be exploited. And often is in the hands of skillful manipulators. Manipulators come in all forms. Some are driven by character deficiencies, others by low self-esteem and painful or tragic pasts. Some, however, are simply born that way. But the very worst are those who know that they are manipulating others and continue to do so for … Continue reading

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Paying a Higher Form of Compliment

By Monica Nelson Think about a time when you received a compliment that made you feel like walking on air. Knowing that someone else has recognized one of your shining characteristics and taken the effort to praise you for it is a great feeling. Giving another person a compliment is not only a social grace, it is a way to uplift and affirm them. Paying someone a compliment is a loving act. And something we should do more often for one another. So why not do it right? Superficial Compliments When we want to compliment someone, we often go with the first thing that comes into our minds. This usually … Continue reading

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Why is Life so Hard? Making Adversity an Ally

By Monica Nelson There is a popular saying that has been around about a century: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Easy enough to say, but neglectful of the recipe. In this article, I hope to give you my version of how to make lemonade of your life’s challenges. We all face hardship of some kind throughout our lives, experiencing it in different degrees and in different circumstances. How we respond to that misfortune is not only a measure of our character, it is the means through which we define ourselves. It is how we grow in strength and temperament. Going through challenges is something to be thankful for. … Continue reading

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The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of Comparison; Walking the Thin Line of Discernment/Judging

By Monica Nelson Take any two people on the planet, and make a comparison of them in attitude, behavior, beliefs, manner, and choices. You will not find one, not one, that matches another one perfectly. This is the marvelously wonderful truth of our unique and diversified selves. Beautiful as this may be, it sets us up a dilemma for each of us. We are programmed toward comparison. We make assessments and draw conclusions from all kinds of interactions and observations throughout our days. On the one hand, this makes learning and growing a fundamental part of those days. On the other hand, we can do harm to our growth process … Continue reading

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Simple Steps, Real Change: Boosting Your Emotional Intelligence

By Monica Nelson This is the second in a series of small changes to make to your life that affect it in a big way. I worked for a lawyer once who was impossible. He was well-known in his field, and sought after by wealthy women for his no-holds-barred approach to getting one-sided divorce settlements. His intelligence was only rivaled by his unparalleled bear-cat reputation. While his IQ was near or at Mensa level, his relationship prowess was next to zero. Working for this man was drudgery. His work standards were unreachable by anyone beneath god-status. When unhappy, he roared at his staff. He had little empathy and no social … Continue reading

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Defining Integrity, Your First Step to Developing More of It

By Monica Nelson If you’ve landed on this post, integrity is important to you. In business as well as in personal relationships, integrity has emerged as a major factor in developing relationships. And it’s no surprise. At no other time in history do we need integrity more. Corrupt political leaders, business scoundrels, Internet scams, you name it. The list is endless. In this post I will be talking about defining integrity. It is the first step to strengthening it. Integrity has two major components to it. The first component is a sense of wholeness. To be whole means that you have clearly defined what you stand for and that what … Continue reading

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When Closeness is Overwhelming; Healing the Fear of Emotional Intimacy

By Monica Nelson Kathy was a woman I met years ago when I was taking postgraduate courses. She was an attractive woman who drew people to herself like a magnet. She always had loving and caring words for people around her. Everyone felt the warmth of her glow. We became friends quickly. But like a floating ember from a campfire, the relationship burned brightly at first, then blew away to nothing in the wind. My friends, like most women friends, share a bond of emotional intimacy that lies at the heart of our relationships. We build our connections with feelings, emotions, and soul secrets. The vulnerability of these sentiments cement … Continue reading

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