How Significant is Self-Awareness for Guys?

 

Self-Awareness:  The New Buzzword

Self-awareness is the new buzzword in the business world–aimed especially at guys who wish to be leaders in their fields but find themselves lacking the leadership skills they have to work. Tasha Eurich, an organizational psychologist, tells us self-awareness is now the latest business management buzzword for good reason. [1] When we look at ourselves clearly, we’re more confident and more creative–creating sounder choice, communicating better, and building stronger business relationships.

Jennifer Porter, a managing partner in a leadership and staff development company, has a terrific take on self-reflection, which is how we can become more self-aware:

…The most useful reflection requires the conscious consideration and evaluation of faith and activities with the intention of learning. Reflection gives the brain a chance to pause admist the chaos, untangle and sort through experiences and observations, consider multiple possible interpretations and make meaning. This meaning becomes studying, which could then inform future mindsets and activities. [2]

If self-awareness is so crucial in our business relationships, why not in our romantic relationships?  Advice about self-awareness in romantic relationship frequently suggests setting aside time on a regular basis to get a self-assessment regarding values, daily tasks, life goals, etc.  Guys, particularly, will withstand this route toward self-awareness, using a bias toward action rather than contemplation; not seeing how this method contributes to a better connection, relying on”facts,” valuing intellect over feelings, not following through on a plan to meditate, etc..

We are in need of a new spin on the call for the type of self-reflection that generates the desired self-awareness.

What Are Your Triggers?

Rather than approaching self-awareness by some overall strategy about life preparation, how about a situation-specific plan –a way to recognize situations which are”triggers” to be self-reflective as opposed to reactive.

In supportive, intimate relationships disagreements and differences are often handled through a negotiation process which starts with”putting things on the table” so that the spouses can see where the gaps are.  The top negotiations lead to”win-win” results such that each spouse’s wishes and desires are heard and honored from the outcome. [3]

They often begin as a request, a remark, a difference, a debate.    However, soon you aren’t speaking to each other–you’re yelling, averting, speaking over each other, etc.  When this occurs, issues won’t be resolved because you’re making assumptions that are concealed and the ideas and feelings you are strong and negative.

The first clue that you’re setting yourself up for a battle with your spouse/partner is how you’re feeling.  If you are feeling angry with your partner, you’re set to blame her, e.g.,”I am angry because you aren’t doing your fair share.”  In this circumstance, something she did (or failed to do) has”induced” one to be mad at her.  You think that it is”normal” for you to be mad because she didn’t do what she’d agreed to do.

This scenario of believing your partner caused you to be mad (or fearful or hurt) and describing this as normal is actually your role in creating a battle.  While this angry reaction may be”reflexive,” calling it”normal” simply justifies your response.

The best way to solve conflict is for every individual to become self-reflective and personally accountable for his/her role in the breakdown of the interaction available.  Here are the steps you can take to raise your self-awareness to be able to prevent completely or resolve conflicts in your romantic relationship.

Boost Your Emotional Intelligence.  You know that anger and dread prepared you for a fight or flight response.  Daniel Goleman, who introduced the concept of emotional intelligence, perspectives such emotions as a “quick response system” that compels you to respond without proper reflection on what is happening. [4] Remember that anger and anxiety are related to the discharge of epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine, and dopamine, all of which ready you to fight or flee.

Psychiatrist David Viscott describes all the ways we camouflage our anger by expressing it as being upset, miffed, teed off, irked, annoyed, angry, enraged, and burnt. [5] Stress can be expressed as being fearful, edgy, jittery, nervous, stressed, helpless, insecure, uptight, nervous, having cold feet, and getting the shakes.  These are the words we use generally to avoid copping to being angry or fearfulto divert.

Developing emotional intelligence means being aware of your own”fast response system.”  You have to own it.

Understand Your Personal Take on the Circumstance.  Goleman states that due to this”quick response system,” you may make a fast interpretation of what is going on between you and your partner.  This will be a personalized interpretation based more on your own history than on the present situation.  We all bring our personal histories (painful and happy ) with us to our union.  Whenever your personal history influences your view of this circumstance, you may describe your spouse’s actions in perspective of what it means to you personally rather than clarify it.

Say you come home for work one day, ready to fix dinner with your wife.  You find out that she’s not gone grocery shopping on the way home as she had agreed to do.  She would like to go out to eat!  Your fast response system goes into action and you say,”I am so mad that you aren’t doing your fair share of the work.”  You might even add something like–“You’re such a shirker!”  Your partner will seldom, if ever, experience her actions in precisely the exact same manner that you describe it.  She just changed her mind!  The feeling of”unfairness” in this instance is the personal experience of this circumstance.

Characterizing an action isn’t the exact same thing as explaining it.  Characterizing is not about the event–her not going into the store–it is about a private selves!  And, characterizing your spouse’s action will certainly excite her counter-reaction and counter characterization (“You’re such a bully!”) .  Now, it’s a full-fledged conflict!

Here are some examples of the distinction between describing what occurs and characterizing what happens.

WHAT SPOUSE DID HOW YOU CHARACTERIZED IT
She didn’t attend me in how I wanted She ignored me
She spent money on things that she wanted She’s selfish
She checked her phone when we were speaking She’s so self-centered
She wants to have sex more often than I do She’s a sex-addict
She didn’t consider my view She treats me like a second class-citizen

 

Being Accountable

 Being accountable means using your self-awareness to communicate better with your partner — acknowledging that you’re reacting not interacting.  Being accountable means knowing that your words and actions have a direct impact on others, on your partner.

Self-awareness will build a stronger connection with your spouse if you are able to recognize when you’re angry, irritated, peeved, hurt, angry, or angry at her–recognizing that you’re reacting reflexively.  Know that without reflecting on what’s occurring, you may quickly and automatically characterize her as with some negative trait that caused her to behave badly toward you (she’s selfish, lazy, bossy, cluttered, inconsiderate, emasculating, and on and on). She won’t ever agree with such a characterization!

What’s the Payoff?

Self-reflection helps you determine the issue at hand.  The self-awareness attained by self-reflection leads you to describe your concerns to your partner instead of characterizing her actions or lack of action.  Characterizing is never positive once you’re reacting–it’s always negative–and likely to provoke a reaction-in-kind.  You may negotiate a debate or difference about what happened when it’s described.  You don’t negotiate conflict! You retaliate for a perceived personal salvation!

Like our company consultants point out, when you see yourself more clearly–recognize when you’re reacting instead of interacting–you’ll make sounder decisions, communicate better, and do your part in building a more satisfying relationship with your spouse/partner.

  • Self-awareness in company help leaders become optimistic, communicate better, and build stronger relationships.
  • Self-awareness has the identical effect in your intimate relationship.
  • A fresh approach to attaining self-awareness is to identify your trigger scenarios by paying attention to if you’re angry, anxious, or hurt.
  • Self-reflection permits you to describe a issue not characterize your partner in negative terms.
  • Characterizing your partner is provocative.

 

 

 

References

 

Harvard Business       Review.

  1. Porter, Jennifer. “Why You Need To Be Time for Self-Reflection (Even if You Hate Doing It). Harvard Business Review. March 21, 2017.  https://hbr.org/2017/03/why-you-should-make-time-for-self-reflection-even-if-you-hate-doing-it.
  1. Aponte, Catherine E. (2019) A Marriage of Equals: How to Achieve Balance in a Committed Relationship. Emotional Intelligence. New York: Bantam Books, 1995. The Language of Feelings. (n.p.) Priam Books, 1976.

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Internal monologue goes something like this:”Holy shit! What did I just say?! I did it again… My loved one triggered something within me and I lost my temper.”   Noooo dear lover — You did not LOSE it. You could not lose that f****r in a Where’s Waldo animation in the event that you tried.You tomahawked it in your loved one’s mind — HARD. You blew up like a bomb (again) and left shrieking shrapnel throughout the goddamn living area.  Bits of rectal blood, guts and gore stuck anywhere. You can not even see your loved one through all of the dripping, gnarly words. It was an articulated assault of viciousness. Extra strength Pine-Sol will not wash their pitted soul readily.Self-recrimination sets in:”I am such a loser. I am an unlovable wart on the ass of an ass. They’re for SURE gonna abandon me today… I just know it. I’d leave me if I could. Why can’t I ever learn?  I hate myself. I am the world’s worst spouse… no, the worst partner in the UNIVERSE! Yeah… I am a entire pile of doo-doo. I’m the sort of caca a coprophagic canine would not even consume on its wretchedly, ravenous moment.” Well dear lover, as soon as you’ve wallowed adequately enough to be covered head to toe in plenty of shame you have to work on it. You lean into the flywheel and begin that heavy shit moving.  (Hard work and the patience of a demi-god is necessary.) You receive therapized, examined, and read each self-help book as quickly as Amazon (with Prime free delivery of course) can get them into a searchable mailbox. You attempt woo-woo energy work, request advice from your hairstylist, gossip and shout with your BFF and pick up some interesting tools along the way your parents forgot to teach you.  (“Thanks mom and dad — way to go… I will send you the invoice in my $150/hr. You eventually track that shitty response to its source, back that small f****r to a corner pointing at it with a long, drawn-out “Youuuuuu…. !” Then stab your finger into its torso as you tell it to”GO AWAY! F**k off and die why not?! Why the hell can not I get over this shit once and for all?!!! GodDAMN IT! I am TIRED.” Alllll-riiiight dear lover… get back to work!  Whining is for toddlers and you wish to be the arbiter of your own fate dontcha? Lean back in the flywheel and twist that good, emotional disc until your back is aching, your tears have run dry and your palms and pits are moist with perspiration. Trust me lover, it is well worth the effort.You may never feel so free as when that wheel starts to spin by itself and you finally have REAL control over your lifetime.  You are gonna love it! Life will no longer happen TO you… you get to make whatever reality you desire. It F***’IN ROCKS!!*Shift to the present — your new reality* Guess what? That activate shit never goes off.  Enjoy never gets neat enough to place on a shelf, you do not suddenly turn into the connection guru dispensing penny advice to all and sundry AND your previous NEVER stops cooperating with your present. I thought it was gonna be simple after I leaned to that flywheel! Sometimes you’re the pigeon and sometimes you’re the statue. Regardless of what we do, when we’re triggered, our mind is so damn fast it’ll take us into the past at a split microsecond.  (Who knew we were such amazing time travellers!?) All we can do is select another response.We start by learning how to identify the start of a rapid heartbeat, nausea in our gut, or the choking feeling in our throat that suggests a cause is on its way up from the depths of our mind. Bodies never lie, dear lover… NEVER. This is our opportunity to choose an alternate reaction. It is a message from our future selves if we hear.Learn how to recognize those body signs and follow this up with two synchronized, learned activities. (Notice I said activity — not REaction.)To begin with, and honestly, most significant — ZIP IT.  Just shut the F**K upward for an instant .  Whatever verbal vitriol you have bubbling behind your uvula can wait till you have had an opportunity to analyze it and then, if you have to, consciously CHOOSE whether or not to unleash the unholy harangue from hell upon your loved one.Trust me fan, a few seconds will not make a little difference in the event you finally continue on your initial anger track.  It is going to do equal harm whether you choose to prematurely upchuck your previous onto your current or if you decide to wait and, after a cursory examination, opt for ultimate relational annihilation vis a vis your flapping jaws. The big difference is you’re taking responsibility with the next option.Let us assume for the moment that you (sensibly ) opt to have a breather and zip it. Second is to acknowledge your cause and then ask yourself this {} question as you’re looking into the eyes of the one you love:”Who would I wish to BE at the moment?”If your response is,”A crying, salivating orc in the pits of Mordor.” Or”An arrogant, self-important know-it-all who’s always perfect.” then by all means, let ‘er rip and consequences be damned — again.However, if you’re able to examine your loved one and decide that you need to BE somebody who calmly, compassionately, maturely expresses how you feel about the cause you just experienced in their unwitting hands, then you may opt to BE just that.It is a choice, people.   No, it will not be simple. Nothing worth having ever is. If you do your inner work, monitor your routines, stories, sorrows and pains back to their roots and wrap that child in a huge, heartfelt hug, participate in primal scream therapy or anything else it is that floats your metaphysical boat then you’ll have the beginnings of a custom of owning your shit and a opportunity to speak your truth like a rockstar.Notice I said”clinic”.  Nobody is born knowing this stuff and practice is the path to sustainable behaviour. More than anything precious lover, be kind to yourself as you begin down the street towards personal accountability.  Nobody ever develops without failure. Consider it, if you are in a heavenly state, why on earth would you change anything?! It’s our screw-ups that create the chance for change.So as you practice grabbing your body’s signs and your reactions, ensure that you allow yourself to chuckle at your own mistakes.After all, laughter IS the best medicine dear lover!–Previously Released on gracegetzen.comShutterstock

No, it will not be simple. Nothing worth having ever is.

The article Dear Lover, I Lost My Temper — Again appeared on The Great Men Project.

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Concentrate on the Repair, Not the Damage

The perfect Relationship — What’s it look like? Have you ever been in one?  When I’ve asked customers, they have said things like:

We are deeply connected.
We remain open to one another.
We never fight.

Notice the previous statement. Do you know couples that never fight? Likely not.

How about we change that last statement to”we browse battle well?”

Conflict occurs in all relationships. The biggest question is, how can we deal with this?  What if the perfect relationship isn’t”conflict-free” but”conflict-resilient?” What does that look like?

It looks like this.

I trust you to remain in the fire with me when things get rough.  I trust you to maintain your upset and speak your truth to me {} you’ve cooled off. I trust you to hear my side of things.

Trust. Yes, battle is all about hope.  Once we deal with conflict poorly, trust diminishes. As soon as we navigate battle well, trust increases.  It’s that easy.

The actual opportunity in battle is how you and your spouse can feel nearer than ever afterwards.  To construct confidence which you can deal with tough things, without attacking, blaming, checking out, or numbing. What would that be like?

As I said in my previous blog — 4 Relational Conflict Styles — Which One Are You?  — the perfect partner doesn’t mend, blame, or abdicate. Rather, they take responsibility, deal with their hurt feelings and then concentrate on fix, not the harm .

Here’s a simple procedure to put repair into actions.

But, before I give you the products, I wish to say this.  To repair after battle, give up having to be right. Give up needing to prove anything.   Get more needing to be warranted.  That is staying in the harm. That is an adolescent perspective.

An adult, on the other hand, shows up to listen, hold their answer, and listen to their spouse.  That fosters repair and connection.

I once heard it said — within this life, would you like to be right or do you wish to be adored ?

So, here is the brief version of how to mend. Perhaps you’ve done this already. But… can you do it consistently?

1. The first person talking has the ground for 5 or 10 minutes, whatever is agreed on; set a timer and use a thing to reveal who has the floor. Only the individual with the object may speak.  The other individual is concentrated only on listening. For the person talking, talk about your feelings. Speak to nature, not narrative, as you have limited time and the clock is ticking.

2. After the timer goes off, the individual listening speaks what they heard said, in their own words. Your only job is to prove that you heard your spouse. When you’re finished, you ask,”Can I get everything?”

3.   When you are done, pause and take a breath.

4. Bear in mind, no problem solving, no focusing on who is right and who is wrong. This is all about practicing relational consciousness (“we” not”me”).

5. Notice Hooks & Triggers. Notice where you’re fired up. Breathe, tell yourself you are ok, love yourself, get current again.  It is your issue, do not project it on your spouse.

That is it, super easy. And yet often being directed by a relationship coach is a excellent way to build this into your connection.

And bear in mind, as we get better at mend together with our spouse, we cultivate a deeper confidence. A trust based on an established track record to make it through hard stuff.  We hope in each other’s power to keep in the fire when battle happens.

Originally Published on stuartmotola.com

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