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
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.
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 need to.…”
“You (can be implied) do it like this.…”
“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.
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?