Why are you so surprised?

surprise

“I can’t believe she did that!”  “I don’t understand, how could he do that to me?”

I hear this on a regular basis from clients and friends.  They can’t seem to understand how people in their lives do what they do and why they keep doing it.

It’s simple really.

We all have patterns of behavior.  Some of us know our patterns well and execute them proficiently on a daily basis.  Others of us ‘seem’ to be clueless about who we really are and how we behave.

As receivers of others people’s words and deeds, we tend to become comfortable with the behavioral patterns of those who are consistently in our lives.  And, we also tend to express ‘utter shock’ when someone, whom we thought we knew so well, hurts us… again.

We continue to be hurt by others whom we know because we don’t pay attention to what we already know.

Each of you can name at least 5 common/standard behaviors that those familiar people in your lives display.

Are they reactive, selfish, concrete thinkers?  Controlling, anxious and rigid?  Do they talk about others critically, gossip and pass negative judgments about others? (btw- everyone judges everyone else. It’s just whether we choose to say positive or negative things.)  Do they actively avoid dealing with discomfort directly and as a result, behave passively-aggressive?

Just think about this for a minute.  You know the people who are in your circles; family, friends, colleagues.  You KNOW how they are (even with just ONE interaction with them) and yet you choose to act like you have NO FREAKING CLUE!!

Stop being surprised and start paying attention to ‘WHAT YOU ALREADY KNOW.”

As I say, “you know what you know.”  It’s all there; RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU.

You can either pay attention to what you inherently know or not. It’s your choice.

Yes, I DID say that!

It is a CHOICE.

You can adjust your expectations of these people, based on what you already know ,or you can continue to act surprised.

YOU KNOW WHAT YOU KNOW.

The next time someone in your friend, colleague or family circle ‘hurts’ you, take a look at what you already know about them.

Chances are (close to 99.99%) that they have had this SAME behavior with you and others.  It just looks a little different because it’s in a different situation.

Now comes the work.

Now, you must  make a conscious choice to relate to this person differently, based on what you know (i.e. become more conservative in your disclosures to them or don’t rely on them to have your best interests at heart or accept them in the exact way that they act towards you) or you can pretend that you  are experiencing them ‘for the first time.’

I encourage you to stop expecting others to be anything but what they show themselves to be, unless they start to show themselves differently.

(You might want to repeat that daily.  Post it everywhere in your house if you are one of those people who are constantly surprised by the behavior of others.)  “)

Go ahead.  Make that list of what you already know about the people in your life.  See what you come up with.

Then, apply that to whatever pain or distress you are in.  Doesn’t it fit?  Doesn’t it make sense? Is it the same pattern with a different presentation?

I thought so.

Now, doesn’t that feel better?

Excellent.

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Those of us who have brothers and sisters, whether they are biological or step siblings, know that these relationships deeply define us.  Depending on the pecking order, you can be the one held responsible or the one to blame for everything.  You can be the caretaker, the troublemaker, the high achiever, or the quiet one who tends to slip between the cracks.  While the pecking order impacts the relationships we have with our siblings as we grow up, it can change in adulthood. How it evolves results from the value that parents place on family and connectedness along with modeling what connectedness looks like over time.   Continue reading

Hearing is Believing: How Words Can Make or Break Your Kids

Words standing alone, are useless.  When put into a context, matched with  a tone of voice and the underlying intention of the speaker, they can lift you up to the peak of happiness or they can bring you crashing down into the depths of despair.  Words are powerful tools; and when you  use them with your children, you can make or break their spirit; because children listen to what you say. Continue reading