A Simple Holiday and Life Hack

by Lance Ekum on · 59 comments

Today, it is an honor to have Jen­nifer Abbott as our guest writer.  Jen­nifer is a won­der­ful soul, car­ing lady, and all-around princess of kind­ness.  A tal­ented writer, Jen­nifer shares thought-provoking arti­cles at Prin­ci­ples for Peace — a blog with a real focus on achiev­ing inner peace and true suc­cess in life.  “Do You Want to be Great?” is one exam­ple of the “spo­ken from the heart” writ­ing she does.  When she’s not carv­ing inspir­ing sto­ries from the key­board -  Jen­nifer enjoys sculpt­ing, soft­ball, and spend­ing time with her won­der­ful husband.

Sit back, have a cup of cof­fee, and enjoy, as Jen­nifer shares with us…

A Sim­ple Hol­i­day and Life Hack

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly end­less.” ~ Mother Teresa

Creative Commons License photo credit: *SMILING PUG

*SMILING PUG* - ????! Gong Xi Fa Cai! , HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR, PUG CHINADOLL MODEL BY BUGBABY *-*We all know the hol­i­days can be a bit (or a lot) stress­ful.  For a few rare fam­i­lies the hol­i­days may go effort­lessly smooth, but to oth­ers the hol­i­days can quickly turn into an episode of Every­body Loves Ray­mond.  Let’s take a look at one way we can make the hol­i­days be a bit more pleasant.

I’m involved with a pro­gram called SFT Aware­ness in which we teach peo­ple how to process and remove emo­tional pain.  The fol­low­ing les­son is a part of a les­son we teach that I have found to per­son­ally be very help­ful in my every­day life.  The more I imple­ment this prin­ci­ple the more effec­tive my com­mu­ni­ca­tion is and my life just seems to go a lit­tle eas­ier.  It is really sim­ple, yet takes a lot of effort to mas­ter.  How­ever, I have found the effort to be well worth it.  This con­cept is called the “You” Rule.  And no, that doesn’t mean that YOU RULE, but it does mean that you put the spot­light on your­self.  Con­fused?  Let me see if I can clear things up.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Chris Owens

Flying Hot Dog

Con­sider this: How many times a day do you use the word “you” when it is not asso­ci­ated with a com­pli­ment or giv­ing direc­tions or infor­ma­tion that is asked for?

Have you ever used any of these phrases before?  Con­sider how you feel when these phrases are directed toward you:

You should.…”

You need to.…”

You (can be implied) do it like this.…”

You always.….”

You think you’re.…”

The “You” Rule goes some­thing like this:  Never use the word “you” again except for a com­pli­ment or if some­one asks you for direc­tions or help. As a gen­eral rule, the word “you” is con­sid­ered to be antag­o­nis­tic, puts pres­sure on peo­ple and makes them defensive.

Often when peo­ple use the word “you” an insult or neg­a­tive thought is sure to fol­low and/or the think­ing error of con­trol­ling is involved.  Imple­ment­ing the “You” Rule helps to ensure that these things do not take place.

This rule is espe­cially help­ful when com­bined with assertive state­ments that get your needs met while not offend­ing the other per­son.  Instead of using the word “you,” mix a lit­tle humil­ity and respect with putting the spot­light on your­self and things will go much eas­ier.  You may not always get your way, but you have been heard and you have not offended anyone.

Sce­nario: You are dis­cussing with your fam­ily what to do for the meals when you get together for the hol­i­days.  Some­one sug­gests that you all go out to eat.  Maybe you don’t like that suggestion.

One pos­si­ble response is, “You always make the deci­sions about what we do for meals.”  Does this sound any bet­ter? -  “That’s a good idea.  It would be a lot eas­ier to eat out, but I would like it if we all cooked a lit­tle some­thing and stayed in.”  Not only is the per­son com­pli­mented for “a good idea,” but by say­ing, “I would like it if.…” the spot­light is put on you and the other per­son does not feel attacked.

Other exam­ples:

When you are sit­ting around with your fam­ily at the hol­i­days, instead of say­ing, “You need to read this book.” say some­thing like, “I just read this great book.”  or “I have got to tell you about this great book I read.”  Then tell them about how it was help­ful to you and not how it can help them.  This puts the spot­light on you and they are a lot more likely to read the book and see if it can also help them.

Instead of say­ing, “You always pick the restau­rant when we eat out.”  Say, some­thing like, “You always pick really good restau­rants (com­pli­ment), but I would like it if we take turns choos­ing where we eat.”  Again, in this exam­ple, by say­ing, “I would like it if…” the spot­light is on you.

Obvi­ously, it is not always bad to use the word “you,” but as a gen­eral rule it is con­sid­ered antag­o­nis­tic.  I have found that it’s espe­cially okay to use “you” for direc­tions (IF asked) and great to use it plen­ti­fully for com­pli­ments.  It is also great to use when try­ing to gen­uinely learn more about some­one or when I am ask­ing for help.

In regards to offer­ing help: often times, I have found that peo­ple do not want my help unless they ask me.  So I find it a gen­eral rule to imple­ment the “You” Rule, keep silent and let peo­ple do things the way they do them.

Your turn: Can you think of a time when you used the word “you” and things went wrong?  How about a time when some­one used the word “you” toward you and you felt attacked or pressured?

Lance writes sto­ries from his heart, aim­ing to inspire and moti­vate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he’s not here, you can find him hang­ing out with his fam­ily, rid­ing a bike, or just gen­er­ally act­ing goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Tree­house newslet­ter and get addi­tional inspi­ra­tion in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
View all posts by Lance Ekum

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