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How To Halt Put-downs And Come Out On Top Part One

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‘I felt awful I missed the meeting this morning.’

‘At least you made it into work this time!’

‘Yea, I guess so…’

 

We’ve all experienced the bitter aftertaste of a put-down which caught us completely unawares. How do you typically respond? If you’re anything like me, you’ll think of the perfect response a day late, leaving you feeling frustrated and angry, both at yourself and at the person who delivered the sour remark.

 

Whilst living in shared accommodation in London I had the unfortunate pleasure of sharing with a man who by all means was the king of put-downs. I honestly think he lived his life in a state of constant anger and frustration and the only way he knew how to alleviate his pain was to put others down. Needless to say he was a very unpleasant character.

 

At the time I knew nothing about assertiveness and so had no idea how to reply, leaving me constantly bewildered and feeling attacked. I can see now that my ‘perfect responses’ were actually just put-downs themselves, and would have left me entering into a competition on passive aggression, which he would obviously win.

 

The reality of put-downs is that they are almost always indirect and so virtually impossible to address at the time without resorting to demeaning remarks back. Thankfully, after learning more about assertiveness, I am now better able to defend myself against put downs, but it still takes a great deal of courage to tackle them in a direct way and there have been times when I’ve fallen short of being assertive. Having said that, when I do respond assertively, I feel incredibly empowered, having said I find the behavior unacceptable.

 

Throughout this month’s series we will address how to respond to put-downs in such a way that you too feel empowered; standing up for yourself whilst maintaining your integrity by being respectful, diplomatic and firm.

 

What Is A Put-Down Exactly?

 

Dictionary.com defines a put-down as:

 

“A disparaging, belittling, or snubbing remark. A remark or act intended to humiliate or embarrass

someone.”

 

The Psychological Reasons People Give Put-Downs

 

Often those who use put-downs towards others are very insecure and hide behind them, feeling it the only way they can safely communicate their anger or elevate themselves socially.

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The Rough Seas of the Roles We Inhabit and How to Calm the Waters Part Five

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Life role certificates; a fun keepsake

 

Once you have agreed on the expectations between you and the person in relation to your life role, you can then write it up, framing it for a fun and sentimental keepsake to keep in the kitchen or around the house.

 

Be as creative with it as you want, print it on weathered card for effect, experiment with fonts and even put a wax seal on it if that takes your fancy.

 

This serves as a reminder of how you can work together, finding compromise in a respectful way and will act as a template reminding you how to get the most out of your life role in such a way that it not only serves and supports you but others too.

 

How to successfully juggle life roles

 

This is where your core identity really comes into its own. Juggling life roles is never easy but it gets increasingly stressful and difficult if you are either wearing masks for each role and have no clear core identity. Your core identity will allow you to remain quintessentially yourself even though you may be switching between roles out of necessity.

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A Message Just For You…

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In the lead up to the re-launch I have examined my writing and I have to say I cringed at some of it. I think part of being a writer is critiquing your own work and as you progress on your journey you learn new things. Looking back I feel like I’ve dropped the ball a bit. As some of you know I also work a nine to five and – if I’m really honest – in order to keep up with the volume of work I need to put out there I feel I’ve let the quality of my writing slide a bit. At times I’ve written almost on autopilot, sharing my knowledge on areas but in a way that, when I re-read it, seemed slightly dry and impersonal.

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What’s more I felt that in some of my writing the tone has been hinting that I know it all and obviously have it all figured out – which couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m on a journey the same as everyone and the reason why I started this blog was because I genuinely wanted to share what has helped me along the way, in the hope it could help others.

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So I wanted to apologize if you ever felt my tone was off key – this was never my intention and I want you to know I have a huge amount of respect for each and every one of you. Looking to foster more self awareness and growth in your life is a very courageous thing to do and you should be extremely proud of yourself for taking that step.

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As of the 17th June I am taking six months off work to study, meaning I will have more time to dedicate to Accessible Psychology and my writing. I aim to use this time wisely to refocus my efforts and, as of August, there will be daily postings again and the site will be in full swing.

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Please do let me know what you think of the new site and all of the social media channels; after all you are the heart and soul of Accessible Psychology and the only reason why I continue to do what I do.

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Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead,

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With much love and respect,

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x X x Jenny x X x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rough Seas of the Roles We Inhabit and How to Calm the Waters Part Four

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Life roles; how to have them serve and support you by bringing the subconscious or unspoken into the conscious and communicated

 

So how do you begin to shape your life roles so they serve and support you? The biggest way is to bring what is usually the subconscious or unspoken into the conscious and communicated. There are many approaches you could use to do this, but as it is an emotionally charged  topic it needs to be handled in a delicate and sensitive way using assertiveness, otherwise it could do more damage than good.

 

Remember, assertiveness is not about winning or getting your own way – it is about working together to find a mutually agreeable solution in such a way that it respects not only your rights but the rights of others.

 

Our rights

 

For a recap on our inherent rights take a look below:

 

“I have the right to state my own needs and set my own priorities as a person, independent from any roles that I may assume in my life.” This right recognizes our existence beyond the roles we inhabit (whether they be that of a husband, wife, mother or father) and accepts we have priorities beyond the realms of those roles. We are all, at our core, individuals and this right highlights we should be treated as such. In truth, to have priorities for ourselves outside of the roles we inhabit is healthy as it promotes a sense of autonomy and individuality.

 

“I have the right to be treated with respect as an intelligent, capable and equal human being.” This is one of our most basic rights and yet one that is violated all too often. Absolutely all of us deserve to be treated with respect.

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Coming Soon… The New And Improved Accessible Psychology

The countdown is now officially on for the brand new Accessible Psychology. The new design will have a magazine style look and feel, letting you browse easily for whatever takes your fancy – from cultivating patience to boosting your productivity.

 

The new design will be launched early July but there will still be works taking place in the background whilst I add pictures to all of the 300+ articles I’ve written over the years. Full posting will be back up and running at the beginning of August and this is when all social media will be re-launched too. I’m just so excited to share with you the plans I have in store!

 

There will be monthly film and book reviews on character based, psychologically driven stories with a few self improvement books thrown in too, social media competitions to win the books featured in the reviews (so if you haven’t joined my Twitter or Facebook page, now is a great time) and even Twitter polls where you get to decide what content I share.

 

Do you have any features you would like me to add to the new and improved site? Please do get in touch by either clicking and commenting on this post or using my contact form and share your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you.

The Rough Seas of the Roles We Inhabit and How to Calm the Waters Part Three

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Life role expectations; how to avoid destruction and incompatibility

 

Your own subconscious expectations

 

One of the most subtle but debilitating ways our life roles can destroy us is by the subconscious emotional baggage that each of us carry, suddenly exposed when we take on new roles. I encountered this when in my previous marriage, but only recognized it as such in retrospect.

 

Has anyone ever told you that marriage changes everything? Well, this is what they are referring to, even though they may not be consciously aware of it. In truth, if you are an agnostic or atheist, marriage is just a piece of paper. However, beneath the surface often lies a psychological battle waiting to manifest itself once you sign on the dotted line. The good news? Once you are consciously aware of it, this battle loses all of its power over you, rendering it redundant.

 

The psychological battle and emotional baggage I am referring to? The subconscious expectations you place on yourself for each life role. Naturally you will have conscious expectations as to how the new role will play out however what I am speaking of goes much, much deeper.

 

In the case of marriage it originates from what your notion of a ‘good wife’ or ‘good husband’ is but it doesn’t stop there – the subconscious notions of what constitutes a good wife or husband stem from your parents, from how they modeled this role, to how happy their marriage was and even to how they spoke about it.

 

Indeed, the ways your parents modeled these roles to you have provided you with things you subconsciously believe to be a good wife or husband, or may have given you the belief that in order to be a good wife or husband you must avoid certain behaviors.  If neither of your parents were married, this might have subconsciously modeled indirect messages of what it means to be married, impacting how you see marriage itself.

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The Rough Seas of the Roles We Inhabit and How to Calm the Waters Part Two

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Identity and life roles; how to avoid isolation and devastation

 

Throughout life there will be roles we inhabit which we identify strongly with, like being a parent or professional. Although it is healthy to identify with these roles, the old adage that too much of a good thing is bad for you can be quite true. The danger in identifying with any one role too greatly is, should the role dynamic change or even cease to be, it can devastate us. Have you ever heard of the ’empty nest’ syndrome? This is how it happens.

 

For me it happened when I identified too strongly with being a model, as soon as I no longer was one, I was depressed, as if part of me had ceased to exist. I soon found other roles to latch onto, which I now know only perpetuated the problem, rather than eradicating it by choosing to focus on my core identity instead.

 

On reflection the issues I had surrounding my identity were compounded by the fact I often hid behind different masks for the life roles I inhabited, never quite being authentic and revealing my core self. During those years it was a very lonely existence. It was as if the rough seas of my life roles had thrown me overboard and I was trying to swim against the tide, with my fear of intimacy battling against my authentic self so that I would remain masked and stay hidden.

 

Of course it is natural each life role you inhabit will draw on different elements to your character, but your core self should always be the captain of the ship, steering you on a calm course throughout each life role, letting your genuine character and authenticity shine.

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The Rough Seas of the Roles We Inhabit and How to Calm the Waters Part One

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Throughout life there are many rough seas to navigate, but few catch us more by surprise than the savage waves of the life roles we inhabit. In today’s society, whereby we inhabit many roles, our lives are becoming increasingly complex and compartmentalized. At any given time you could be a daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, professional, student, painter and patient. Juggling this can not only be exhausting but challenging too.

 

Moreover, each role brings with it subconscious emotional baggage, often played out in destructive ways, which take us completely by surprise. In this month’s series we will delve into the dark side of life roles – exploring the issues that create disasters and how to avoid them. Finally, we will examine the ways we can ensure our roles serve and support us, rather than define or destroy us.

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Why Patience Pays (and how to get more of it) Part Four

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Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

This is the final week in the series, so far we have covered:

 

  • The intimate relationship between patience and anger
  • Symptoms of impatience
  • Finding your triggers
  • The psychological impact of losing patience and its consequences
  • The psychological impact of having more patience

 

This week we continue to examine how we can all cultivate more patience.

 

Meditate

 

Mindfulness meditation teaches us to appreciate the present moment non-judgmentally and gives us a sense of contentment and peace , naturally cultivating more patience. Try these nifty exercises to become more mindful in your daily life:

 

The Three Minute Breathing Space

 

Sit in an upright position with a straight posture. Breath in and out slowly, your belly rising on the in-breath. Examine your body sensations from your toes to your head. What emotions are present? What thoughts are you aware of?

 

Return your focus to your breathing. Feel your stomach rise slowly on the in-breath and fall on the out breath.

 

Become aware of the entirety of your body and the sensations within it whilst slowly inhaling and exhaling.

 

Compassionate Mindfulness

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Why Patience Pays (and how to get more of it) Part Three

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we explored the psychological impact of losing patience and its consequences. This week we explore the psychological impact of having more patience and examine how we can begin to cultivate more.

 

The psychological impact of having more patience

 

When we have more patience we are more calm, less anxious and generally happier and more content. Whilst there are many psychological benefits to being more patient, I have explored the main benefits below.

 

Improved relationships

 

When we are more patient our relationships flourish. Rather than being irritable we are accommodating and calm. There is much less potential for conflict and our relationships are more harmonious as a result.

 

Realistic expectations of yourself and others

 

When we are more patient we have more realistic expectations of ourselves and others, helping to combat perfectionistic tendencies and thinking.

 

For example, if I always carry out others requests of me straight away because I am a perfectionist, practicing patience will help me realize that I work differently to others and that this is not necessarily better or worse – just different. Likewise, I may begin to realize that my perfectionism and self-imposed expectations are unrealistic and perhaps even unhealthy.

 

Increased self-esteem

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