Value Your Life Contributions

By Karyn Hall, PhD

 

images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all have days that everything seems to go wrong.  We get a speeding ticket, the dishwasher stops working and your zippers splits when you’re already late for a dinner engagement. Sometimes what goes wrong is bigger and more difficult. Maybe your best friend is moving away or someone you love is diagnosed with cancer. Those times are particularly tough and may lead you to wonder what life’s all about.

Actually, what is your life all about? One of the most effective ways of coping with daily ups and down is to know your purpose, your contribution to the world. What is it that you contribute to the human race or to our world?  Knowing your part in the world can help you see the forest when the trees all seem negative. Every contribution to a better world counts. Every person can make a difference. Do you know what your purpose is?

Continue reading… »



Six Ways You May be Avoiding Constructive Conflict and Losing Friends

By Karyn Hall, PhD

 

 

images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conflict with others, especially perceived and actual rejection, can be quite painful. Calling a friend after you’ve repeatedly made and cancelled plans may seem as difficult as piecing back shattered glass. Giving in to the urge to just avoid conflicts and let friendships go may cost you relationships that you don’t really want to lose. Being connected with others involves some form of conflict, whether it’s about you letting the other person down or the other person not coming through for you in some way.

One of the first steps to stopping the avoidance is awareness of ways you may justify or talk yourself into not facing upsets, anticipated criticisms, disagreements, or other conflict. Here’s a few statements that you might be using to support your avoidance of what could be a relationship repair or relationship building interaction, cause that’s what constructive convict actually is.

Continue reading… »



Self-Scapes of Fear

By Karyn Hall, PhD

 

images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do you see yourself and your world?  The way you view both affects the way you live your life.  You may be quite secure about who you are and your safety in the world. Or not.  Let’s call the basic way you look at yourself and the world on an everyday basis your self-scape.  It’s like your emotional landscape. Do you wake up in the morning and see a full, lush emotional world?  Do you focus on the people who support you?  Or do you tend to see a barren world?  Or perhaps even a landscape full of aggression and hostility, with people ready to destroy you when actually you are safe, it just doesn’t feel that way?

If you are in a situation that is physically dangerous, your situation is different.  Your self-scape of fear is based on reality. A distorted self-scape is when someone feels undue fear of daily life events that most people experience.

Continue reading… »



Defining the Life You Want to Live: Relationships

By Karyn Hall, PhD

 

 

 

 

 

Having friendships and/or family members you feel close to is often a primary part of living the life you want to live and is one of your biggest challenges.  Interactions with others are often the most emotional experiences you have, both in rewarding and painful ways.  If relationships are part of your life worth living, determining how to make this work for you will be important.

Keep Your Priorities in Mind

Relationships are naturally full of ups and downs. There are so many times you will have urges to break off a relationship and to never speak to a person again. In many cases though, that’s using avoidance and/or abandonment as a way of responding to a problem. You avoid the immediate pain of hurt and vulnerability but in the long run your relationship is damaged.

Continue reading… »



Define The Life You Long to Live

By Karyn Hall, PhD

Bhutan_Gross_National_Happiness

 

 

 

 

When you are emotionally sensitive your emotions can rule your life. The more painful emotions exhaust and drain you, sometimes to the point that your days are about avoiding hurt rather than living your life.  You may dread the mornings and crave isolation though at the same time you are lonely and hate that you think you don’t belong.  You may be sad or constantly tired. You may decide there is something wrong with you that you can’t deal with issues and be content like others seem to be able to do, so why try? At some point you may find that you have focused on emotions such as hurt, resentment, grief, and fear that you no longer think about the life you want to lead. You get lost in the pain and lose sight of your goals and dreams.

Continue reading… »



Four Ways to Increase Your Interpersonal Skills

By Karyn Hall, PhD

Posing in the garden

Emotionally sensitive people experience more intense emotions that are more easily aroused and that last longer than those who are not emotionally sensitive. You react faster with greater emotional intensity that lasts longer. Your emotional reactions can be triggered by television shows, magazine articles, places that trigger memories, anniversaries and other events.  Interpersonal issues are one of the most challenging areas for you.

With a strong fear and sensitivity to rejection, even routine events such as a friend canceling lunch plans can bring on a tornado of emotions that are difficult to manage. With this difficulty in relationships, so much of life becomes stressful, such as attending classes, dating, participating in friendships, interacting in group activities, having roommates, and working with others. Some of you withdraw and become isolated as a way of avoiding the pain of relationships. Others experience anguish and suffering on a regular basis with little relief. Working on interpersonal skills and ways to manage emotions in relationships can help you reduce the suffering you experience on a daily basis. Improving your interpersonal resiliency and skills is complicated.  Four options for getting started (based on the work of Marsha Linehan, 1993)  include the following:

Continue reading… »



Reducing Conflict with Validation

By Karyn Hall, PhD

 Rome visit, June 2008 - 57Creative Commons License

Validation is the acknowledgement of  your own or someone else’s  inner experience (feelings, thoughts, urges) and behaviors as understandable. Validation helps you improve communication with those you love. When you validate others, you create a safe context for them to express their fears, worries, and issues that make them uncomfortable. When you have open, accurate communication, then you can problem solve.

John comes home from work and his wife Amy meets him at the door holding the credit card bill. She has an angry look on her face. In a loud voice she says, “You know we are trying to cut the credit card bill. We agreed to discuss any charges. It’s not even two weeks later and you’ve already broken that promise.  How dare you!  How can I ever trust you?”

How will John respond?  Of course he will say something like, “You are always on my case. I can’t do anything right. You’re the reason we’re in this credit card mess anyway, so don’t go blaming me.”  Communication then becomes an argument. John responded to his wife’s anger with his own anger. While that is understandable and natural, it doesn’t help either of them have a helpful discussion.

John’s first emotional reaction to his wife’s upset was likely one of shame or guilt, because he had broken their agreement not to use the credit card. Instead of expressing his guilt, he defends himself with anger. That makes him less vulnerable, and it also makes effective communication more difficult.  If he had accurately expressed his feelings, John might have said, “Oh, honey, you are right. I can understand how you would be so hurt. I did use the credit card and then I felt guilty about it. I meant to tell you and I kept putting it off.” That would be a more accurate expression of his thoughts and emotions. In turn, Amy would likely react in a calmer way. They then problem solve together. Validation helps you stay on the same side.

Amy did not express her primary emotion either. When she first saw the credit card bill, she was hurt and scared. Anger was easier to experience so she quickly went to anger and thought of her husband as a jerk. She saw the situation as an attack on her and responded with an attack on her husband. Her way of talking with him triggered an angry response. She could have more accurately expressed her emotions by saying, “I saw that you used the credit card without talking with me and I was so hurt and disappointed. I thought we had an agreement. I know that you care about our future too and at the same time I was also scared because I’m afraid if we don’t stick to our plan we’ll lose the house. I’d just like to understand what happened.”

Accurate expression and validation of the other person’s feelings leads to a more productive discussion.  Using validation means giving up the idea of responding to anger with anger or defending yourself. That is difficult.  Dr. Alan Fruzzetti suggests that you keep in mind that you and the person you have a relationship with are in the same boat and need to work together for the relationship to survive.  He also suggests that you visualize how what you want to say to the other person will affect the relationship in the long run.  Will it help or hurt the relationship?

Photo Credit:  Ed Yourdon via Compfight



8 Reasons to Celebrate Love

By Karyn Hall, PhD

 

I'll Give You All I Can...

Valentine’s Day may be one of your favorite holidays. You see it as an occasion to celebrate your relationship. Or maybe you think Valentine’s Day is just a tool for businesses to sell cards, flowers and chocolates. Whatever your view of the day, there are some strong reasons to celebrate love.

1.  If you are good at connecting people, then you are likely to be a happier person. Whether it’s a business, friendship or romantic connection, introducing people who form a relationship is good for you.  Your happiness is increased when the introduction is successful, so it’s also a bit risky.

2.  A 75-year long study done at Harvard was dedicated to finding the secrets to a happy life.  George Vaillant, the head of the study, said the  most important finding is that the only thing that matters in life is relationships. Happiness, according to his study, is about the love in your life and finding a way to cope with life so you don’t push love away.

3.  Having relationships in your life will make you happier. These relationships provide you with validation of your value and competence. The relationships don’t have to be family or friends in any particular balance–just close relationships.

4.  Love and passion inspire people to great accomplishments.  Think about people who have made a positive difference in the world. Many of them were driven by their love for humanity.

5.  There’s evidence that relationships decrease your stress and improve your physical health.

6. Loving connections with others can help erase the emptiness some people feel.

7.  Having close relationships enhances the positives that you experience and helps minimize the pain of the negatives.

8.  Relationships with pets make us happier too.  Loving a pet counts.

You can probably add other benefits to this list. Knowing that you have support and “belong” is a key step toward your well being. For emotionally sensitive people, the vulnerability required to create close relationships can be daunting. Staying isolated may seem safer. In this case that may be short-term thinking, perhaps based on fear. Short-term thinking means that your decision to isolate may appear more desirable right now, but that decision does not work well in the long run. Part of establishing and keeping relationships is a willingness to think about the bigger picture and stay focused on the long-term benefits. If you decide to build relationships in your life, take small steps and be compassionate with yourself. Building relationships is difficult and the benefits are significant.

Survey:  If you are an emotionally sensitive person who does not have a mental health diagnosis, please consider completing our survey to help us learn more about emotional sensitivity.  Thank you.

 

Photo Credit:  Brandon Warren via Compfight



Trusting Wisely

By Karyn Hall, PhD

 

Creative Commons License01 (217)Creative Commons License

As you know from the last post, trustworthiness is not constant. People are not consistently trustworthy or consistently untrustworthy but vary according to situations they are in.  Whether you behave in a more trusting way or not may vary in ways that you are not aware.

First, if you are feeling grateful you are more likely to behave in trusting ways to others. In fact, your level of trust is likely to vary exactly according to the level of gratitude you are experiencing at the moment. Notice this has nothing to do with the other person or the specific situation but is only based on the feelings you are experiencing. So maybe feeling good makes you trust others or be less judgmental and cautious?  Yes, but it’s not only feeling grateful that increase your trust in others. If you are socially stressed, then you are also more likely to trust others. In fact, researchers found that social anxiety increased the rate of cooperation (trust) by about 50 per cent. Again, those feelings have nothing to do with trust.It’s not only feelings that increase trust. It could be the power of suggestion. If you believe you are wearing knock-off designer sunglasses, then you will act in less trustworthy ways than if you believe the sunglasses you are wearing are authentic.

Continue reading… »



Your Pattern of Trust

By Karyn Hall, PhD

 

 

 

 

handshake isolated on business background

 

For emotionally sensitive people, trusting someone is often a huge challenge.  Everyday, in one way or another, you probably ask yourself if you can trust different people. Trust plays a central role in your relationships, your business decisions, choices you make about your health, how you love, and how you invest your money.  The need to trust is uncomfortable and scary. It points out that you are vulnerable. You may fear being rejected or judged. Yet you can’t get the outcomes you want in life and meet your needs without trust. You need the cooperation of others. Your pattern of trusting or not trusting others may make relationships and cooperation more difficult.

Continue reading… »



 
Savvy
The Power of Validation
The Power of Validation
The Power of Validation
Karyn Hall, PhD is the author of the above books.
Check out their details by clicking on the cover.


Subscribe to this Blog: Feed

Recent Comments
  • 2014coachoutletstore.com: I do not know if it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else encountering problems with...
  • Sunken Rock: I was surprised to see you suggest dependence on a “Rock”. Every person has their limits and...
  • Anonymous: Wow!tears began to roll down my cheeks while reading this amazing article, it perfectly fits my...
  • Jacques: Hi I’m 30 and this is the first time I’m feeling so lonely in my life. I’m really close on...
  • Deb: I often wished that I was not a highly sensitive person because it causes me to suffer. When I was younger I...
Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 12240
Join Us Now!