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5 posts from January 2011

January 31, 2011

Women And Decisions: Moving Away From “I Don’t Know”

Below is a post from my new blog http://lmerlobooth.typepad.com/straight_talk_4_women/ Enjoy!

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As my daughter gets older I continue to watch her and her friends struggle with making decisions.  The simplest of questions lead to countless answers of “I don’t know” or “I don’t care, what do you want?”  This same lack of decision-making is often carried on from childhood into adulthood for many women—myself included.

I hear countless stories from couples having had frequent conversations that sound like this:
Scott: “What do you want to do for dinner?”
Sue:  “I don’t know. What are you thinking?”
Scott: How about we go out to eat?
Sue: I don’t care we could go out or stay home. Either one would be fine I guess.
Scott: Let’s go out. Where would you like to eat?”
Sue: I don’t care. Where would you like to eat?
Scott:  How about going to the pizza place?
Sue:  I don’t think I’m in the mood for pizza. Is there something else you were thinking about?
Scott:  No. Why don’t you decide?
Sue: Well I don’t really have a preference so you can choose.

…Ugh, does this sound familiar to anyone?  It can be incredibly frustrating to our partners or friends and anxiety provoking to us when we don’t make a decision.  It’s even worse when we won’t decide yet then turn down the other person’s decision.  Our reluctance to make decisions is just one more way that we play small in our lives.  We do this for many reasons such as not wanting to choose wrong, not wanting to seem overbearing, wanting to be nice etc.   The truth though, is that not making a decision is in fact making a decision.  It’s deciding to have others decide.  It’s often the decision to put the needs, wants and desires of others above your own. 

Handing over our decisions to others…is not serving us.

Continue reading "Women And Decisions: Moving Away From “I Don’t Know”" »

January 23, 2011

Intensity and Relationships: Why People Get So BIG in Times of Upset

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Time and again I find myself working with clients on their intensity.  Countless men rage, bully or intimidate when things don’t go their way.  Many women yell, scream and threaten when they don’t get what they want.  Bosses are going off on their employees and parents are going off on their children.  The intensity can be off the charts. 

Our athletes, politicians, parents, teachers, leaders and followers are all getting BIG when things don’t go their way.  Almost everywhere I turn, I see someone bullying, intimidating, threatening or raging in times of disagreement or upset.  Countless marriages are being impacted—and destroyed--by this intensity.  Numerous businesses are losing employees due to intense bosses and co-workers.  And too many friendships are breaking because of words said in the heat of the moment.

So why are so many people reacting to things with such intensity?  There are a number of reasons people get so intense, including: it feels good, yelling takes no discipline or thought, it’s a learned behavior from childhood (and our culture) and -- the main reason people react by getting “BIG” -- is because IT WORKS. 

The bottom line is when people rage, yell, bully and/or threaten, it gets people off their backs.  People grow quiet in response to intensity.  They do what they need to in order to get the intensity to stop.  If, every time you bully, others shut up and do what you want, then why not bully?  It works, right?  Wrong.  The truth is, getting BIG often leads to short-term gains and long-term losses.  People do quiet when threatened…and they also stew, get resentful and begin to pull away.  This is true at work, at home and in friendships.  Nobody likes to be bullied; it’s just not fun.  And, while you may like the way it gets you what you want in this moment, you had better be prepared for the backlash.

The reality is that bullying almost always comes with a price.  You may not pay that price today, but almost certainly you will pay for it in one of the tomorrows.  I’ve seen the meekest of wives leave raging men and the meekest of men leave raging women.  I’ve seen complacent employees reach their limit and leave well-paying jobs.  And, I’ve seen lifetime friendships end when the intense friend didn’t settle down over the years.   Intensity may work in the short run; however, the cost in the long run is often more than people want to bear.

If you find yourself often yelling, intimidating, snapping at others, etc., then know the timer is ticking.  The more you act BIG, the faster that timer ticks.  The only way to slow down the timer leading to the end of relationships is to slow your intensity down.  Seek help for your reactivity before it truly wreaks havoc in your life—if it hasn’t already.

CHALLENGE:  If you struggle with intensity, your first step to changing it is to become conscious of it.  Pay attention to how hot you get rather than how others get you mad.  Watch how you move in power and intimidation.  Notice the impact on the face of those in the path of your intensity.  Watch their eyes and see how they distance.  First, get conscious, and then seek help (yoga, meditation, therapy, etc.).

January 17, 2011

Women And Control: Are You Trying to Micromanage The World So You Don’t Feel So Anxious?

Below is a post from my new blog http://lmerlobooth.typepad.com/straight_talk_4_women/ Enjoy!

 

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Control is the need to get people to do what you want them to do so you don’t feel so anxious.  Control can take on many forms.  Some women control boldly: “You’re a wimp who doesn’t know how to stand up to anyone.  Tell your boss you’re not working on Saturday or I’m leaving.”  Some women control by incessantly complaining and constantly trying to tweak what the other person is doing: “Would you PLEASE put the lid on the pan when you’re cooking and would you load the dishwasher the way I’ve asked you to?!” Some women control through manipulation: “Do you really think going out again tonight is the best choice?  If you stay in maybe we could make love.”  Regardless of whether you yell, beg, manipulate or demand, the bottom line is...it’s still control.

The problem with controlling others is it’s an illusion.  There is no way you can control another person.  Ultimately, other people get the final say in what they choose to do or not do. Your need to control others is a total waste of time, although I’m sure there are times when you get what you want which is why you do it in the first place.  Don’t think, however, that getting what you want means doing what you do is okay.  The truth is controlling others is incredibly dysfunctional. 

Answer the questions below honestly to see if you struggle with control:
1.    Do you demand that your partner put the kids to bed your way, at the time you specify, with little to no exceptions? 
2.    Do you tell your partner, children or friends how to dress? 

Continue reading "Women And Control: Are You Trying to Micromanage The World So You Don’t Feel So Anxious?" »

January 11, 2011

Words Have Power: Lessons To Learn From The Arizona Tragedy

IStock_0policecarsll As much of our world recovers from yet another violent tragedy, I’m struck by the outlandish comments made by lay people, extremists and -- yes -- some of our nation’s potential leaders.  Since when has it become okay to slander, threaten, name call and even damage a person’s property because we don’t agree with the way they think?

The truth is that politics in our country today has become more and more contentious.  Politicians and we, the people, have become more and more oppositional, aggressive and downright threatening in our fight for what we believe.

Sarah Palin depicted Representative Gabrielle Giffords in the crosshairs of a rifle scope on a Facebook page and wrote: "Don't retreat! Instead - RELOAD!”  Really?  When a potential Vice President of the United States uses metaphors like this, you know things have gotten bad.  And, while I realize Sarah Palin did not literally want someone to gun down Rep. Giffords, the level of irresponsibility in this comment is jaw-dropping to say the least.  I’m no politician, but even I know that my words have power.  Have we really become so unconscious as to think that what we say doesn’t impact those around us? 

Continue reading "Words Have Power: Lessons To Learn From The Arizona Tragedy" »

January 03, 2011

A New Year: An Inner Life Makeover

IStock_0New Year2011ll Every year at this time millions of people make countless New Year’s resolutions regarding appearance, work, family and relationships.  One person’s going to lose weight, another’s going to work harder and yet another is going to spend more time with their family.  All of these can be great ideas, yet somehow few actually get followed through with. 

What if this year people focused on making changes on the inside of themselves rather than the outside?  What if we decided to look at why we emotionally eat rather than go on a diet that will lead to more weight gain in the future anyway?  What if we looked at our propensity to hide in our careers rather than enjoy our families?  How about exploring the relationship squashing patterns that have haunted us for a lifetime?  Hmmm, what if…?

For those of you who are courageous enough to take a look at yourself with a loving and critical eye, here are some ideas of what to look at.  Change some of your internal patterns and watch your life change on a whole new level.
1.    Look at your past several romantic relationships and write down what each partner’s main complaint was about you.  Don’t defend against the complaint—just take it in and look at it.  Imagine the complaint is true.  How has this quality hurt your relationships/life?  What step can you take to change it?
2.    Pay attention to the messages your children say to you when they’re angry, hurt or upset at you.  Do they say you’re always working, never listen, mean or…?  Take in their feedback and examine it for truth.  Don’t defend—just own your piece and decide if and how you need to change it.

Continue reading "A New Year: An Inner Life Makeover" »

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