Can an Apology Really Help?

What are your patterns around apologizing? Are you able to swiftly apologize to someone if you’ve made a mistake? Or does it feel too vulnerable for you to admit when you’re in the wrong? Many people struggle in this area for a variety of reasons.

How do you receive apologies? If someone apologizes for hurting you, are you quick to forgive and allow them to repair the relationship? Or do you hold on to their mistakes out of indignity or even fear of the same thing occurring again? People report that, once hurt, forgiveness can feel challenging.

Research by Dr. John Gottman shows that people in the most successful relationships have the ability to easily offer and receive apologies. Sometimes this can be difficult if the wound was deep and created ripples of suffering. However, even with the most hurtful offenses, practice can help you get better with it.

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When we refuse to offer or accept an apology, this is often called stonewalling in the research. This dynamic is a strong indicator that the relationship will not be successful. Sometimes you might get stuck in stubbornness or fear, especially if you’re not adept at apologies. Here are some strategies that can help you navigate apologies better:

— Write out the apology before you speak it, so you are sure to use the words that are most meaningful.

— Practice saying the apology alone before you have the actual conversation.

— Be mindful about which approach is best – in person, by phone, email, text or card. Some people even include gifts with their apologies.

— Ensure that your actions align with the words. You will lose others’ trust if they don’t line up and you keep making the same mistake.

— When someone approaches you with an apology, offer grace and the benefit of the doubt when possible. It takes humility for them to approach you. Remember that everyone is flawed and would not want to be summarized only by their mistakes.

— Consider how it would feel to get to the other side of the conflict and resolve any festering thoughts and emotions. That liberation feels far better than being right.

Is Portable Peace Possible?

There is always drama. If you’re not careful you can get drawn into its intensity. The trick is to become skillful in how you handle the situations. Maybe you find yourself in a relationship with a very dramatic person. Perhaps you’ve been accused of being a bit dramatic.

Either way, there is a wonderful way to live more peacefully.

The great teacher and Nobel prize winner Thich Nhat Hanh was often asked what the path was to peace. He would calmly respond, “Peace is the way.” You must practice what you wish to learn. While simple to understand, the practice of peace can be difficult to master. Intellectually, living peacefully probably makes sense, right? But the challenge lies in your emotional patterns and reactions.

What would it be like to enjoy what we term “portable peace”? That way of being is a profound way to live. It is a tool for life-affirming transformation. If you are truly motivated to step out of the turbulent currents of the stress that unnecessary drama brings, you can start enjoying being consistently peaceful right away.

Here are some proven steps to portable peace:

  • Take direct action toward immediate self-care. This may include your diet, and other items you physically consume. It may also include the mental material you take in such as TV and movie programming.
  • Make a commitment to take the high road in relationships. Avoid those that are too intense and wrought with drama. During disagreements, focus on being happy versus being right.
  • Create peaceful rituals and practices such as regular meditation and relaxation time.
  • Integrate humor into your everyday life.
  • Set a daily intention to be a peaceful, powerful person.

Can The K.I.S.S Formula Help?

You’ve probably heard of the K.I.S.S. formula at some point. However, calling yourself stupid (the last S in the expression) does little to help you move forward with anything effectively. So, try our adjustment to the formula: Keep It Simple and Skillful. Do you notice a difference in the visceral effect this version has on you?

Words carry impact. And the way humans think words translates into how you tend to respond. Take for example, something you’ve repeatedly attempted to do but have been unsuccessful. There’s a good likelihood that if you attempt this thing or situation again, you’ll remind yourself of how you’ve failed at it previously. Unless you’re an exception, you’ll likely convince yourself of defeat before you even attempt the action. This can be an exhausting approach to trying new things. It’s a self-limiting belief that stops you before you’ve started.

As a constant meaning-making machine, the mind maintains a state of complexity. This mechanism can complicate the simplest of situations. As the expression goes: “we can make mountains of molehills,” but we can also “make molehills out of mountains.” Either mental tendency can distort reality. When you take actions from a distorted perspective, you’re more likely to make missteps.

Keeping it simple and skillful means focusing on words that are positive and encouraging. Your body is always listening to what your internal thoughts and externally spoken words are. And the body responds accordingly. In other words, the body can match what you are thinking. So, beware of how you assess circumstances.

Expressions like “this traffic is going to cause me a stroke” would be more skillful as “I am calm and am at ease in traffic.” But at least altering your thoughts and words to “Traffic is inconvenient, but I can handle it” will cause a better mental and physical countenance. We encourage you to monitor your word choices for the next week, and notice how you are affected.

The Power of Retreat

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the noise and demands of the world around you? Wouldn’t it be pleasant to get away from it all for a while? Guess what? You can!

There are many ways to retreat from the world, so that you can return feeling refreshed, focused and renewed. The idea doesn’t often dawn on people. You may find yourself waiting for vacation time to get the break you need, but sometimes that doesn’t come along in a timely fashion. Sometimes, vacations don’t give us the downtime that retreats do. Have you ever returned feeling like it was still not enough?

You can book a formal retreat. There are many places nearby, in and near Georgia. You can also create your own retreat. You can do this in your own home or find a location that appeals to you. You can do this alone or with others. There are lots of creative ways to have a retreat that meets your needs at the time. Different times of life will call for different elements in your retreat. You can choose to retreat for a half-day, a day, or a week. The possibilities are endless, and you get to choose what would work best for you. Below are some ideas to get your started:

Select a place that would work best for you. Consider noise levels, people and aesthetics.
Choose a length of time for your retreat.
Let the appropriate people in your life know what you’re doing, so you won’t be disturbed. You can offer them an emergency strategy if something dire arises.
Decide if you’d like to unplug from technology. We highly recommend this to give your brain and nervous system a break. Much of the noise causing stress comes through technology channels.
Decide if you want silence or not. Silent retreats can be a powerful reset even if for only a few hours.
Create a schedule if you’d like. This might include yoga, meditation, prayer, journal writing, walking, reading, mindful eating and even time to daydream and meander.
There is no right or wrong. Experiment with different styles depending on your mood and needs.

As #corporateeventfacilitators #keynotespeakers #mindfulnessexperts #mindfulleadershipexperts  #atlantaspeakers #mindsetexperts #ajccolumnists and #corporatetrainers, we lead corporate retreats for organizations. Reach out to us for your services!

Pushing Through Pain Points

From our Atlanta Journal and Constitution daily column today….

Have you ever set a difficult goal for yourself that caused you pain as you prepared for it? People who are in extreme sports, or even simply working out in the gym, often report that they experience pain on the way to their aspiration. Entrepreneurs, writers and artists often experience this as well. As #keynotespeakers, #corporatetrainers, and #executivecoaches, we heard this many times. In fact, as entrepreneurs, we’ve been there ourselves!

Why would anyone choose to do something voluntarily when they know it might be painful? Why would someone keep moving forward with an activity if they’re already in pain and know there’s more to come?

It’s because the end result offers a promise of satisfaction, pride and achievement. It helps people realize their capabilities. It teaches you that you can surmount limitations. It can feel incredibly empowering.

However, many people don’t keep going. They quit. And sometimes, this is the right thing to do. Perhaps they were attempting the activity for the wrong reasons. Maybe they realized it wasn’t worth it after all. You do need to know when it’s in your best interest to stop versus continue.

Whether you decide to continue or stop, make sure it’s your decision. It may be helpful for others to weigh in with their opinions, but ultimately this is your decision to make.

If you do decide to move forward with a goal that will cause pain in the interim, how can you navigate the anguish along they way? Here are a few strategies:

– Keep an image in your mind of the end goal. Have a physical picture or representation that you can see on a daily basis.

– Visualize how this will look and feel when you get to the endgame. Imagine people congratulating you.

– Get clear on your why, the underlying reason, of the goal, and remember it often.

– Surround yourself with a positive tribe who will cheer you on unconditionally.

– Watch or read about people who have overcome challenges to achieve greatness in their own lives. Learn from their mindset and behaviors.