Communication

Communication Matters

Communication. It’s key. People coming to me for help in their relationships (alone or together) tell me all the time that they

“just need to improve their communication skills.”

Most people strive really hard to do just that.

They work on being kinder and having a softer approach. They work really hard on analyzing correctly so they can get their point across clearly and “be heard.” They gather evidence and examples. They keep an historical record, sometimes verbatim. They submit the hypothetical to their partner “how would you like it if…?” They make appointments to have big talks and get to the bottom of things. Sometimes they even use “date nights” as a time for those big talks. They work really hard to hold it together even when things get tense.

Sound familiar?

Yikes.

Even people who specialize in relationship and couples work often don’t help effectively. They teach people to “attend to listening” or “pay attention” when it’s their partner’s turn to talk. Eye contact. Body language. Turning toward, not away. Leaning in. (No eye-rolling, sighs, or other displays of impatience.) They teach “reflective listening” and hope each person can “issue an empathy statement.”

Huh?

It’s good stuff… if you can do it successfully.

But sometimes it’s so much work.

Especially when, as a listener, you are seething and you already know the next thing your partner is going to say because she’s said it a hundred times and you are being forced to override every cell screaming to get away from this confrontation.You are, after all, in the counselor’s office and you are paying to do this conversation in front of a professional!

Or maybe the words coming out of your man’s mouth feel scathing and you just want to break down and cry but you’re being forced to “hold it together” long enough to be seen as “rational and logical.”

That kind of communication doesn’t truly work.

And by “work” I mean it does not get you what you want: connection, feeling understood, feeling like a team, solution and resolution. That’s why I regularly tell people to stop talking.

Now I don’t mean literally to stop talking entirely. I mean STOP TALKING so much. Stop talking like that. Do something entirely different.

I teach people to use my Clean, Non-blaming Communication (CNBC)™ framework.

It’s nifty. It diffuses huge issues. It’s simple. But not necessarily easy. And it’s usable and useful in so many situations and with all kinds of relationships. I mean that. With kids, bosses, underlings, acquaintances, potential dates, friends, siblings… you name it! Of course, it’s productive and helpful inside relationship!

I love it and I talk about it all the time. That’s because it has changed my life and the lives of so many clients. It grew out of years and years of my own experience, pain, hard work, broken heart, study, research, investigation, trial and error, and finally, complete transformation!

If you’ve signed up for my FREE Coaching Club, you already have a PDF copy of the framework.

Use it. Keep the framework handy because, of course it will feel strange and unnatural at first. It’s very different from what you’ve been doing! You will slip back into the pattern of the The Usual Subtext ™. That’s what’s natural. We’ve been conditioned to use that way of communication and try harder and harder, believing that our efforts have to yield results!

Or, worse, that there is just something wrong with the other person. They’re a bad mate, (we chose the wrong one!) or a bad employee, or bad sales clerk, or aggravating, troubled, difficult son (or daughter.)

We try and try and try and yet, all our efforts fail to get us what we want: cooperation, compliance, respect, connection, empathy, RESULTS!

If you want to learn more about the specifics of how Clean, Non-blaming Communication works, do one of three things:

  1. Sign up for my FREE Coaching Club if you haven’t already. (Under the arrow on the side if you’re on a computer, below here if you’re on a phone or tablet.) You’ll get the PDF plus more info reserved for the Coaching Club and receive Love Letters from me about once a week.
  2. Listen to this episode of my podcast.
  3. Watch the TEDx talk from spring, 2017 in Minneapolis. (I tell a lot of my own story and how CNBC developed.)

Either of the last two will give you a good overview of the framework and insight into WHY it’s time to make a change. Plus, you’ll get some examples of what that might sound like.

Then, jump in and start using it. Try it out and let me know how it’s going. I LOVE, love, love to hear from you! Comment here and let me know how it’s going.

And if this is helpful, share it! We’re interested in helping more people, right?

understanding women podcast episode 3

3 For MEN only: keys to understanding women

Ever wish you could understand women?

Here are some of the secrets of the female psyche revealed! It’s all based on real research, so listen in, guys!

By the time women are in midlife, sometimes the result can translate as women being closed off to you. Women can feel guarded or scared, or so accomplished and self-assured they don’t need you. They can also be complicated, sophisticated, and “evolved.”  Some are so horny you don’t know what to do with them!

Still feeling compelled to rescue a woman?

Maybe you do have that rescuer mentality still. Some men at this point are TIRED of having to be the pursuer it can be tough figuring out what to make of really aggressive women.

Good news:

There are still good women who do understand how you’re made and want to have great relationships with YOU and men like you!

Triangular Theory of Love

Robert Sternberg’s theory posits three elements of love: passion, intimacy, and commitment from which he defines all types of love. In the middle of this triangle, if everything is balanced, there’s consummate love.

Keys to Understanding Women:

  1. Every woman wants to be indispensible: she wants to occupy a place in your heart and mind and life that no other woman does or has or can…or ever will! She must be special. Essentially, she wants to be that consummate love!

2. Every woman asks these two related underlying questions. She carries them around inside her even when she doesn’t know it. (And she’d like to experience a yes about 80% of the time with you.)

  Do you care about how I feel? And are you willing to do something about it?

The key: be sure you know HOW to give her the YES she needs. This includes resisting the urge to “fix it!” SO:

3. Practice empathy even at the elementary level: correctly identify HER emotions.

4. Be willing to do the “something about it” in the way SHE understands.

Plus the BURNING QUESTION answered!

Notice you’re choosing the same type of woman over and over? Want help figuring out what to adjust in order to have truly happy relationship?

CALL ME. 513-818-2024. Let’s get to work putting your understanding of women into ACTION!

 

 

Grown-up Attraction, what men really think

4 Ladies Only: how attraction works

WARNING: EAR MUFFS FOR LITTLE ONES. (Four-letter word alert AND some talk about sex.) 😉

Ever wonder what a man is really thinking?

Wouldn’t you like to really know how attraction works? Here’s what you need to know about what men are really thinking and, why, for men who actually love women, it may not be at all what you think! Plus, how all the things we’ve been told about being a good woman does NOT get us what we need or want in relationship.

Burning Question: Having a significant body issue? When is the right time to tell a love interest?

Believe Me:

Men who love women (like us, want us, are not misogynist) like women in a variety of packages. Trust me on this!

If you run into a man who isn’t attracted to your particular package, screw him. He’s not your man. It’s not a popularity contest. You just want your man to be attracted to you, right? You don’t have to be a 9 or a 10 to be happy in love or to love your body.

Attraction factors: what do men (and women) really find attractive?

Kindness, intelligence, playfulness, youthfulness…

someone he considers to be “good-looking”

interested in him! Some women are really resistant to let a man know she’s interested.

and some secret stuff like chemistry, pheromones!

Yes, and emotional maturity!

By age 35, the Good Guys you want to have a relationship with for the long haul and are fit for real relationship want EMOTIONAL Intelligence:

  1. Confidence, meaning relatively healthy self-esteem. Not insecure, not inflated
  2. Know what they want in life, out of
  3. Emotional responsibility. No divas, drama queens, or princesses.
  4. Understand him. For example understand how a man’s sexuality works and accept it!
  5. Communicate without blaming him or making him wrong.

Need help acquiring any of those skills?

Here’s a startling FACT:

Good Guys PREFER “bitchy” women to doormats. If they had to choose, they’d eventually choose a demanding woman over a complete doormat.

Doormats guarantee that a man will never win with you!

In fact, you doing all the work and putting yourself last, sacrificing yourself, acquiescing and giving in or staying quiet at every turn is the absolute wrong thing to do in relationship!

Maybe you’ve actually given yourself away in relationship. Some women swing to the other extreme and give off the “stay away” vibe! Why?

It’s out of a desire to protect ourselves and a “logical” response to hurts, to life! It’s hard to see that the values we were raised with have helped us behave as doormats or bitches.

If you learned the wrong thing, you can change this.

That’s the good news! Everything on the list is a quality you can cultivate and develop and increase your attraction level.

The challenge, bringing yourself into complete balance

so you can have those other alluring qualities: confidence, managing your own emotions, truly understanding men, communicating without blame and making him wrong.

You’re in a position to care about yourself, value yourself, and put yourself FIRST, not last. And ultimately find a sense of balance.

Need help making the adjustments? CALL ME and let’s get together. 513-818-2024.

 

 

 

 

Midlife Love Bytes episode 12 For Men only

12 For MEN again!

Where do you find really good quality women?

This one is for single Good Guys based on the Burning Question: “where do I find all the hot women my own age that I’d actually like to date who are intelligent, kind, and interested in a relationship?”

I know women in midlife are kind of complicated. Some are so wounded or scared it’s hard to connect. Others are so accomplished and self-assured it can be intimidating. They can give off the vibe that they don’t need you anymore. And women do have more options and interests as they reguvenate in midlife and this can make it hard for you to understand what they really want.

Of course by this time, you are wise enough to spot and avoid the desperate ones fairly easily.

Places to meet quality women:

  1. In a Meetup group
  2. At an art gallery
  3. City sports league or a gym or the YMCA
  4. summer outdoor dances
  5. at the Supermarket at the right time…
  6. Whole Foods wine tasting (or Kroger or other)
  7. Jazz club
  8. yoga class; don’t act creepy
  9. at the library (after work)
  10. special event at the library
  11. at a Fundraiser for a cause
  12. Shakespeare playhouse, theater, plays, concerts
  13. at a park or Nature Preserve or arboretum
  14. Seminar or learning event offered through local school or college
  15. at work (familiarity does breed intimacy)
  16. shop where the kind of women you want to connect with actually shop
  17. tennis lessons
  18. take dance lessons
  19. gardening group (not all women like gardening but some do! Get dirty in the dirt and flirt.)
  20. in a club based on an interest
  21. BONUS! Art and Wine with one or two other men because there are definitely women there with their friends.

The truth about Quality Women

That fantasy about having a room full of eligible, quality  women all hanging out together waiting for you to arrive… It doesn’t exist at this stage in life.

It’s not WHERE you show up, it’s HOW you show up.

  • Are you showing up wounded?
  • Desperate?
  • Does your online profile stink?
  • All-together (no need for a woman…)
  • Showing up just hoping someone will like you?

Women can smell the fear and you can’t fake your healthy approach. Need some support or guidance for your entry or reentry into dating and looking for a mate?

Give me a call and let’s talk about your goals and how we can get you there. 513-818-2024.

communication patterns that hurt relationship

7 Stop TALKING! Make your Communication work for you.

How you talk matters as much as what you say.

Is all that talking doing you any good at all? Wonder why your communication breaks down in your intimate and close relationships? Beth explains it in the podcast episode below.

Learn how the common text and subtext of so much of human talking makes it hard, if not impossible, to establish and maintain a sense of empathy and closeness. Beth presents her trademarked formula: Clean, Non-Blaming communication or CNBC, explaining how this four-step process helps you strengthen your limbic brain and parasympathetic nervous system. It can shift relationship, invite both participants into responsibility, and does it with respect and value for each.

Overview, Rules, and Demo

This is an overview of the rules, guidelines for the process of talking using CNBC, and a demonstration using a common conflict between people who live together. Not in a relationship? You can use this in ALL kinds of connections and even with friends and your children! Just you getting good at going through the steps will have major benefits! This really does have the power to change the depth and quality of all your relationships. And that is definitely going to change your life.

Want a little support as you experiment and grow?

Give me a call. I’d love to join you in applying this in your own life. 513-818-2024

healthy sexuality midlife love bytes podcast

21 Healthy Sexuality 101

Wondering if you’re experiencing normal sexuality?

Dr. Nazanin Moali, licensed psychologist practicing in southern California talks about the tenets of healthy sexuality, what is at the root of many sexual issues, changes in libido as we age, and knowing when it’s time to get professional help.


Burning question comes from a 52-year old woman with grown sons in their early 20’s who was suddenly widowed about a year ago. She wants to know how to approach her desire for sex after a long, frequent, satisfying sex life in her marriage. You’ll love what Dr. Naz has to say about this situation. Dr. Naz defines sexual addiction, explores polyamorous connections, and underscores cultural influences.

From a sex-positive perspective,

Dr Naz and Beth explore the tenets of healthy sexuality, this very important aspect of life, love, and relationship.

1. Healthy sexual behavior is not emotionally destructive to the individual or the partner.
2. It’s relational. Participants are engaged emotionally.
3. It’s important to perceive sexuality as an important part of life, not devaluing it or compartmentalizing. It is physical, emotional, spiritual.
4. Discover what is fulfilling to you and your partner and brings you closer together emotionally.

Remember: it might take a while to tune into a new partner and discover what he or she likes and enjoys and create the way you two fit together.

The Good News about Sexuality

Good news: people are capable of engaging in fulfilling sexual behaviors at all ages. What predicts sexual satisfaction later in life is experiences in younger life. There ARE differences in arousal and navigating this honestly in sexual relationship is possible!

More good news: Some say sex life improves immensely with age due to comfort with one’s self.

Underlying cause of many sexual issues:

1. lack of good education
2. unrealistic presentation of sex (heavily influenced by pornography-an idealized representation and misrepresentation of what is attractive and stimulating)
3. imposition of a narrow beauty and body standard.

Time for professional help with sexuality issues?

If it is a problem for you, it’s a good time to reach out for help. Time with a trained professional can ease your mind, give you perspective, and help you understand yourself. That’s just the start of getting you to the goals you have in mind right now. No matter what you’re facing, there are solutions and you are not alone. We can find them together based on your unique make-up.

Ready to talk? Give me a CALL: 513-818-2024 and let’s make a plan for you to enjoy a healthy, whole, positive experience of sexuality.

Resources: The Sex-Starved Marriage by Michele Weiner Davis and Passionate Marriage, David Schnarch, PhD.
Learn more about Dr. Naz and find her podcast “Sexology” at www.oasis2care.com.

Your work in relationship

It can be really hard to do your work in relationship when you’re so bothered by someone else NOT doing theirs.

My mother used to say

“you are one hundred percent responsible for your actions and reactions.”

Gosh, I hated my mother sometimes. I rolled my eyes and knew she was right even as a young rascally little girl (with ten siblings!) intent on getting her own way at least some of the time.

It felt unjust to me. I got punished for “acting or reacting.” I got punished for “provoking.” The gist: I got punished.

The weight of being one hundred percent responsible as a child felt scary. Impossible. So burdensome. Too much.

And in fact, it is. There seemed no way to win except to somehow NOT FEEL.

I needed to know a healthy thing to do with my feelings.

Without acknowledgement for the very real thing I was experiencing (aka that feeling I didn’t like) I had no idea what to do with it except stuff it. We were told children should be seen and not heard, unless performing, which I was allowed to do for guests from time to time.

I needed someone in my life to reflect that the thing I was experiencing was real, valid, understandable, human. In short, I needed empathy. I didn’t need anyone to agree that I should feel that way or that I was right to feel that way or that my ensuing desire, hope, or fantasy about how someone else might fix my feeling was justified.

I needed to know I was not wrong or bad or crazy to feel the way I felt.

Instead I got the message not to feel.

It wasn’t common, respected, important, or expedient in my family to have feelings, much less act on them. It was okay to think stuff and do stuff, but talking about feelings… not so much. Displaying a feeling?! Good heavens! Moving an emotion from the rumble of our bodies to actually acting on it with movement or words?! Uh, that’s just not nice. That was punishable by OTHER activity (like running around the barn 20 times) or extra chores. From time to time, the assignment was to “go to your room and THINK about what you’ve done.”

So, we were allowed to “appropriately sublimate” our anger or rage or hurt.  We were allowed to think our feelings or run them out or work them out. And occasionally we were allowed to think our feelings.

Makes for some pretty intense resistance to being one hundred percent responsible…

for my own actions and reactions. I think this approach was very well-intended but what I learned was this: I should just get over it. And if that was hard for me I was being “too sensitive.”

Could have been part of the stoic German/Scandanavian culture and mindset so solidly part of my childhood. Could be that additional German/Protestant work ethic.

Of course, I would be doing my own work! Work is what we do.

And that meant all my own emotional and psychic work as well.

I’ve spent my life DOING just that very thing. And leading others into it as well. So, obviously, I agreed with and wrestled with this mandate in big ways.

Sometimes it meant I did TOO MUCH work in relationship.

I carried too much responsibility for the thing that needed fixing. I picked up other people’s work and tried to do their stuff too or, even better, I tried to do their work instead.

That’s a lovely recipe for disastrous results for everyone.

Maybe you can relate.

Now, I don’t know what are your cultural or family-of-origin contributions to this whole puzzle but they MATTER. They make a difference in how you approach this and how comfortable you are with “feeling your feelings, thinking your thoughts, and doing stuff” versus what you might do as a default: think your feelings, be your thoughts, and act out.

Those early influences also matter in relation to how well you can distinguish your real responsibilities for growth from someone else’s work in relationship.

You might have similar hurdles to mine. Maybe not.

What we know for sure:

We know relationships are healthiest when people are separate and whole individuals deliberately choosing connection.

We know each individual person has human challenges, pretty unique to the way (s)he is made. Lots of these challenges are made worse by the seemingly most-possibly-aggravating pairing of mates in love relationships.

And when that happens, it’s either an invitation to quit or a challenge to rise to the occasion.

Just be sure it’s the right occasion and not just a repeat of familiar, old patterns.

You can’t fix someone else.

And you can’t get someone else or a relationship to fix you. No one else can do your work for you.

Let me say one more thing about this. So often I see people trying to fill the void in their own lives with their primary love relationship. I see people going from relationship to relationship looking for the right person who is going to treat them the way they deserve.

This is a mighty tricky concept because there is a difference between having standards for healthy treatment within a relationship and having expectations that someone else will behave in a way that keeps you comfortable.

News flash: even among quite healthy individuals, you each have your own growth to attend to. You’re not going to get everything you want. And that other person is not going to make you happy, keep you happy, or secure your happiness once and for all.

Life is not a fairytale.

Life is good and love can be good. And you’ve heard me say before that love is not hard, it’s not a lot of work. And I stand by that. But there is no happily ever after. There’s just now.

Love is not a lot of work.

But doing your own work can feel mighty hard and it is still your responsibility. And sometimes doing that work is the most challenging piece of all. Most of us can’t do it all by ourselves. That’s partly because it’s tough to see our way around those common blind spots.

It’s also because it takes real courage to face ourselves, to be vulnerable, to tell the truth and see the truth and then do something truly constructive with the information.

Relationship is good.

We need it. Could be the best relationship you can have with anyone right now is the one with a therapist or coach who has been down the road ahead of you and knows how to gently illuminate the path for you to choose. One thing is sure: that relationship you have with yourself will be stronger for all the work you do that is truly your work to do.

I guarantee that.

And the relationships you have with others will get healthier and healthier the more you can see what is truly your work to do. Fun thing in the whole deal? You’ll be able to stop working so hard at the wrong things and get on with the work that actually makes life better.

It’s not so scary.

Give me a call if you want to talk about how I can support you in the work that matters.