Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Fear of Being Weak

I often wonder when it was that thinking of yourself as weak became to be considered a bad thing. And why is it that when people think of asking for help, they think “I’m weak so I should not ask for help and just stay strong?” Why do people say “I should not cry because it is a sign of weakness?” Sooo many people hold this strange belief, and it’s not only men who often tend to be afraid of looking weak, but women too. Honestly, it’s REALLY a lot of people! This is a silly belief so let’s talk about it today.

First, is being weak a bad thing? What are you talking about?! We are human, not robots. We have times of being strong, and we have times of being weak. So what!? Unless you constantly have what people commonly call “nervous breakdowns” or take “mental health days” every week or so, you are just a normal human-being. Even if you maintain your condition really well physically, mentally, and spiritually, horrible things can and do happen, and we all suffer at times.

Second, is crying weak? Honestly speaking, if you cannot allow yourself to cry when you want or need to, that   is actually weaker, don’t you think? Why is that? Why is it that you cannot cry? Is it that you are so “afraid” of other’s judgment that you cannot let it out? Is it that you are concerned about how you look to others, or how others think of you? Is it that you are unsure if you could recover from “breaking down”? All of these are big signs of “weakness.” If you want to be really “strong,” you need to respect and accept your emotional experience, even painful and uncomfortable ones, while having faith in yourself and others around you, don’t you think? 

Third, is asking for help weak? Gosh, this is such a common misunderstanding I see in the US. So many people have a big issue with asking for help. And as a result, you may not be able to complete your task, you cannot get things done appropriately, or you have a “nervous breakdown.” This is not a sign of your strength. Really strong people know that they can trust people who are willing to support them, while objectively and accurately assessing what help and support they can utilize for a better outcome. That is a real strength, isn’t it? Again, if you are afraid of others’ judgment about your asking someone for assistance, no, you are not proving your strength.

This “fear of being weak” is so common and so misconstrued. Please think about yourself and if you happen to blindly believe this misconception, this is the time to rewrite your script and become really “strong!”

Monday, March 18, 2019

Gifted… Cursed as well

For some reason, I have met a good number of gifted, smart, specially talented people both through my work and in my private life. They work not only in academia, but also in the professions, art, or some other particular areas. Being gifted sounds great, right? But their suffering is often overlooked. I am quite familiar with such experience, and have helped out people with smart brains and/or special talents, and believe that such gifts can be a curse. Gifted people may need more support than people usually think.

“Normal” means “belonging to the majority.” Below and above the majority is called “abnormal” by definition. This is not necessarily a good or a bad thing, but just a matter of the numbers. Since being gifted is actually considered “abnormal,” gifted people can experience some challenges in their lives.

Why is that? Consider the challenges endured by left-handed people, for example. The world we live in is designed for right-handed people overall. Therefore, if you are left-handed, scissors, doors, switches, etc., so many things were not designed for them, and their difficulties are often overlooked or simply ignored.

When it comes to gifted/smarter people, their “normal” is not the majority’s normal. What they see/experience is not what the majority sees or experiences. Often those with gifts see things more quickly, more deeply, and with a different perspective. As a result, they often experience misunderstanding, isolation, rejection, and difficulty connecting with others.  Some even self-sabotage to fit in with others. It is just not easy for them to perform to their full potential because their perspectives are not within the range of normal.

This is very tragic for those born with some special abilities. Their gifts may work as a curse, causing them suffering. When I meet such people through work, my focus is to help them understand who they are and what they have, and why some areas of their lives have been so difficult, while helping them learn how they can still fully perform to their full potential. They can still live to their full potential while being connected with others. This is liberating, freeing, and a big relief for them to discover.

My message to you today is that if you are gifted, or if you know someone who is gifted, please make sure you understand this challenging reality for you/them. And as needed, please allow yourself or give them support, because it may change your/their life. 

Monday, March 11, 2019

Tips for more effective couple communication

Last time, I introduced a really helpful perspective called ECU(A). The more I guided my clients with it, the more I am convinced that it is really effective. However, there have been some questions about the implementation of this ECU(A), and I will talk about it today.

The concept of ECU(A) is quite simple. You Express your needs/wants to your partner. If it does not work, don’t become distant but get Closer, and then Understand your partner’s feelings, thoughts, and experience, instead of defending yourself, offending your partner, or even trying to make yourself understood by your partner. And as needed, you Act sweet to get it done.

The biggest challenge here for many couples often is how to put it into effect when you get emotionally charged. Even if you know what to do, you may be too upset to do it. This is a reasonable and realistic concern. If you are too flooded with emotion, you cannot put it into practice correctly. Therefore, you need to take care.

There are a few effective strategies when you are too upset to implement the ECU strategy.

First one is taking Time Out. You take some break to calm down first. It could be 5 minutes, 5 hours, or 5 days. It depends on how badly you are flooded with emotion and how much time you need to calm down. The length is not usually a problem, unless it is a time sensitive issue. The most important thing when you take time out is to let your partner know when you will get back to them. It is your obligation to let your partner know when the conversation resumes. Without doing this, your time out will just work as a passively aggressive behavior, and it will not help. Without setting the time to resume, you can never take time out.

Secondly, calm down together. You can take a deep breath together with your partner, for example. You can also make some tea and have a break together, take a walk quietly together, any activity that makes both you and your partner calm down is great. Once calmed down, now you can resume your ECU(A).

By the way, this “A” part is sometimes forgotten. Chanel your inner actor/actress to perform it well in a sweet and loving manner. Your partner is not your enemy and hurting your partner is hurting yourself, that’s why this “A” is really worth it. Sometimes some people say, “Oh but it is not my authentic self!” or the like, but if your “authentic self” is acting uncooperatively and it is hurting yourself and your partner, you really need to think about it, don’t you? If you implement it well, you will find it very effective. Try it and see what happens!