Someone is driving you crazy? Look through.

Do you have an ongoing relationship in your life that just drives you up the wall?

It’s funny how we relate in a challenging and energy-sucking way with so many people. I know you have experienced this. After all, who hasn’t? I am talking about that person you feel you can’t cut out of your life, yet you suffer immensely in their presence. Every single time. It’s a test to your patience just to hang around this individual.  The worst you that you can be is just fighting to come out. You tell yourself she won’t get to you, but a few minutes into the conversation every cell in your body is vibrating, and not in a good way!

Well, let me just say: this is probably a GREAT opportunity for you to practice otheresteem. Nothing much to be lost and you can’t possibly feel much worse, so why not, I say.

So, I want to share with you a little game I play. It’s called looking through. Simple concept, actually. As I have a conversation with this person (and feel the exasperation coming on), I focus on looking through what he is saying, and into the good part of who that person is, what she is experiencing or aiming for, at the core. (Hint: it’s the POSITIVE part of them I am looking for and, yes, it’s hidden somewhere.)

Yesterday I was listening to an acquaintance go on and on bragging about how well he handled people being aggressive with him. He boasted that people tended to do that and went on to enlist his long list and ongoing collection of quarrels with people, known to me or not. Ugh! Not my favorite take on life. I found myself thinking: this is so stupid? Who in the world brags about fighting with others, antagonizing, being punched in the face and such? And then, I decided to play the look through.

As I continued to listen I looked intently. My head tilts a bit to the side when I do that. I realized he was saying how competent he was and how he usually came on top. He’s a survivor. He has turned this difficulty in relating into his way of life. It’s a hard life. And he feels strong for it. I breathed. I said, “You take pride in being strong. Surviving and winning.” He stopped the rambling description he was into. Sighed a bit and said “I’ve become quite good at that. The surviving mode.” and, finally, he laughed and went on to more amicable subject. What a rush! I understood him a bit more.

Wanna play? Try it out and tell me where it takes you.


P.S. Today is #Otheresteem Wednesday on Twitter, so if you are there, hop right in to the STREAM OF OTHERESTEEM!



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It’s Not Denial

Uh-huh! That’s what deniers will always say, right? It is meant as a pun of course, but seriously, when we talk about otheresteem building and the practices, some people interpret that you can never have any bad feelings about someone or decide you would rather not be in a relationship with another person. Nothing further from the truth!

Otheresteem as a practice is meant to build YOU up, to bring perspective to relationships that are important to you but currently difficult.

The practice of otheresteem will allow you to explore possibilities that are otherwise not apparent, it will open up space for people to change and react differently to you and more importantly, it will help you experience deeper feelings than the hurt and anger that have been holding you back. Otheresteem practice does of course require that you suspend judgement for a time, that you leave resentment behind and that you learn to seek out the positive in relation to others. The idea is to build the foundation first and create strong enough relationships with yourself and others so that they can later withstand any test. Consider how you deal with hurt, anger or disagreement when you do it well. Its not about denial. It’s about reclaiming your responsibility and power. It’s about choosing your reactions, building relationships and getting to a point where you can be totally open and honest with eachother about the good, the bad and the ugly. How do you feel about that?

P.S. Becky Robinson of LeaderTalk has featured me and Otheresteem on her amazing blog today! Thanks, Becky! I had a great time getting to know her more in the interview and am very honored by her interest in this work.

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Is Otheresteem for YOU? OR… Whose fault is it anyway?

I really believe that the practice of Otheresteem benefits anyone that tries it out. That said, the section in the book on “Roadblocks to Otheresteem” touches on the fact that it is not necessarily as easy as it seems. There are several things that will get in the way of your exploration on how to value others more, for instance:

  • Playing the Blame Game
  • Fear of Getting Hurt in the Process
  • Unreasonable expectations for outcomes (Nightmare Scenarios or Fairytale Outcomes)

Lets focus on the first one today.

“In the context of learning about yourself, blame is not a useful concept.”

Although it is socially accepted, assigning blame is usually a futile process.  It locks our thoughts in the past and does little to improve relationships.  Once I have decided to blame someone else, there is not much more for me to do but wait for them to see the light! Not very empowering, is it?  On the other hand, if I blame myself, I may wallow in my guilt instead of stepping up to the future. Either way, we get cast into set roles that are firmly grounded in the past.

Responsibility, on the other hand, does quite the opposite.  It empowers the person in question to realize that they have a choice.  You can continue as you have done in the past, or you can change to create a different future.  Choose responsiblity instead of blame every time and you will see relationships develop, skills build and possibilities open.  But don’t take my word for it! Try it out.  See what it means in your everyday interactions to reassess how you face difficulties with others.  Build on otheresteem by steering away from guilt and blame, being mindful of your expression and communication about responsibility.  Find ways to hold yourself and others responsible without playing the blame game and watch what happens.

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