Take the High Road…It’s Less Crowded

takethehighroadImagine for a moment, taking a leisurely stroll down a tree lined avenue, far removed from the high volume of expressway traffic. Not only is it a less crowded and pothole free route, but it’s also far more scenic and the tolls you pay are fewer in the end. Considering the mental health costs alone, you have potentially saved enough time and money to finance your dream get-away or perhaps a vacation home.

I am not suggesting that you tolerate any and all infractions, bad behaviors and personal affronts. Avoidance is not the solution. Rather, take a stand for yourself with respect to engaging with the challenging person or uncomfortable situation.

• How do you tend to handle confrontation?
• What is most important to you regarding the outcome?
• Notice when your buttons are being pressed.
• How clear are your boundaries?

Some situations are simply easier to manage. Some associates, even intimates, are highly predictable in the ways they relate to each other so that we can prepare for the interaction. On the other hand, since people do not yet come equipped with “bar codes” that could enable us to identify their personal traits and characteristics beforehand, determining a plan of action can happen on the spot.

Taking the high road is not about turning the other cheek either. It is more in alignment with an overall philosophy of self-care and personal empowerment as well as self management. Scratch even deeper and it is an understanding and sometimes an acceptance of what and who you are reacting to. Is it really the person in front of you or is it your third grade teacher, college coach or scout leader; all voices from the past?

© MWeisner2017

Please Stop the Whining

no-whiningWe have all experienced the “Debbie Downer” character in our personal or professional worlds. Complaining has been elevated to a high art by these individuals and while entertaining at times, it’s more frequently draining and off-putting. Fault finding is valuable when you identify what’s not working and look for a solution. Occasional whining may be acceptable but if it rises to the level of chronically finding fault, it’s time to take stock. When crankiness has become an end to itself and a legitimate issue actually does arise, how likely will others respond to it?

Life is imperfect and for some people, complaining is a way to get or even deflect attention. Notice your own behaviors:
• Are they energy draining or energy building?
• Are you feeling powerless in a situation or a relationship?
• What is your typical response?

Chronic irritability distances you from others. If only they would change, then you might not have anything to object to. Focusing on what others need to do rather than on your own actions avoids the possibility of personal transformation and empowerment. Turn that critical eye inward.
• Identify what you would like to create
• What are you choosing to modify or eliminate?
• Channel the energy
• Ask for support from others
• Create a plan of action
• Engage


Ignore the Small Stuff

5475688_m_-_crowd_gesturing_silenceYou have only so much energy. Spend it wisely.

Some things just aren’t worth your time and energy. Perhaps a co-worker refuses to greet you in the morning. Maybe a customer uses a sharp tone of voice. Your partner may forget to do an errand, sending you over the edge. Is it worth stewing about it, replaying the incident, slight or misbehavior endlessly? Possibly, but more often than not, we expend much more effort on minor grievances that can take on a life of their own, relinquishing our power to someone or something else

Think about how much time you’ve wasted on what really amounts to minor irritants when you could have used it to redirect your thinking and avoid getting trapped. Are you willing to carry along the annoying experience in the AM, through your day, only to share it in the PM with family or friends? How much “rent” can you charge to that earlier incident for taking up premium space in your head?

One effective strategy for managing frustrating situations can be as simple as counting to ten before engaging or responding. Try it when you’re sitting in traffic and before you lean on your horn. Another technique is to change the geography by physically moving to another space or area before reacting. Sometimes that action alone can make a huge difference.

Get smart. Don’t spend $10 worth of energy on a 10-cent problem. Learn to identify the higher value issues and act accordingly.

“Do not let trifles disturb your tranquility of mind…life is too precious to be sacrificed for the nonessential and transient…ignore the inconsequential.” ~ Grenville Kleiser

Best Friends…Really?

book-clubIsn’t it flattering to be everyone’s best friend? Hell no!!

It was a year ago at her monthly book club meeting that these words were spoken to Jane, a 59 year old lawyer. As she related the conversation to me it seemed still fresh and very unsettling to her. She recalled looking around the room at the women gathered and realized that she might consider one a good friend, but best friend sounded like something from childhood.

• What was so very troubling to her?
• What were the feelings it brought up?
• Why did she feel as if she had been punched in the stomach?

Jane was clear that her husband and adult children were very supportive of her professionally as well as the personal development work/journey she had embarked on. Everyone wanted her to be happy and yet she really had no idea what made her happy. However, she knew with certainty that she was unwilling to dismiss the initial “compliment” or her immediate reaction to it. Jane is prepared to give up being responsible for everyone’s welfare and personal happiness. She is also struggling with it and knows that her legacy will not be as “everyone’s best friend.”

Women may reveal information about their lives in order to connect with themselves and others. What frequently happens as we mature may also be a confusing time yet one rich with possibility and personal empowerment. The choices we make, the relationships we are in and the company we keep, all contribute to the mosaic of who we are.

• How varied are you willing to make the “design”?
• How risky is it?
• What’s the hook for you to be in relationships that are feeling so one-sided?
• What are you willing to do about it?
• What challenging conversations are you willing to have?
• How clear are your boundaries?

It’s helpful to create a checklist as you attempt to clean house and reconfigure relationships. Perhaps taking a leave from her book club will clarify its role in Jane’ life.

• Has it become a habit?
• Does she enjoy the focus of the group?
• Is it time to find another book club or redefine her role in it?
• What would you do?