Article Description
The real history of the ‘safe space’ There’s much debate in the media about a culture of demanding ‘safe spaces’ at university campuses in the US, a culture which has been accused of restricting free speech by defining contrary opinions as harmful. The history of safe spaces is an interesting one and a recent article in Fusion cited the concept as originating […]
Dealing With Our Own Stuff My friends are often stand-ins for the Muse as they suggest writing prompts. A conversation with one such inspirational soul offered wisdom too good to pass up. We were speaking about … ...
4 Unexpected Benefits of Gratitude As more researchers turn their attention to gratitude, we are learning about the widespread and sometimes surprising benefits of having a more grateful outlook. Here are four findings that suggest gratitude might play a role in how we clean, sleep, and save money.
Adult happiness declines, while teen contentment grows The gap in life satisfaction between those two age groups has dwindled, disappearing in the last few years, a new study has found.
How to Prevent Your Anger From Spiraling Out of Control Anger fuels aggression, but it doesn’t always have to cause a flare-up. When properly managed, it can actually serve a productive purpose. Here are some practical tips to help you better manage your anger....
How to Hack your Triggers and Auto-Pilot Habits We All Have Triggers. You know how it goes when you get triggered. Something happens, and before you know it, you are hooked! Pulled into an auto-pilot repertoire of thinking … ...
How to Hack your Habits We All Have Triggers and Habits. You know how it goes when you get triggered. Something happens, and before you know it, you are hooked! Pulled into an auto-pilot repertoire … ...
Storytelling Will Save the World Captain’s log. Stardate January 2011. Where unfortunately many have gone before. I’m 26 years old and thinking about dying. Actually, I’m not being entirely truthful. I’m dangling halfway out the fourth floor window of my bedroom in New York City. I don’t really want to … ...
Things Passive People Say When passivity becomes our default way of responding and interacting and determines our general approach to life, it hurts us in ways we might not realize: Here's what to look for:
7 Things Only Narcissists Do Recognizing the signs of narcissism is the first step in effectively dealing with a narcissist.
Are You a Caregiver or a Scapegoat? Many of my clients have the tendency to assume excessive responsibility for others problems. They make frequent sacrifices in an attempt to help others overcome adversity. Some who are excessively … ...
This Subtle Dementia Symptom Sends Warning 9 Years Early Nine years before memory changes, this can signal problems. » Continue reading: This Subtle Dementia Symptom Sends Warning 9 Years Early
Why the Freelance Economy Is a Social Tragedy in the Making The Social Contract is dead. We're becoming a nation of freelancers. Corporate profits are very high and retirement prospects very low.
Today I Love The Drizzling Rain Today I love the drizzling rain that has covered everything with a shiny slick coat of moisture. The wet makes everything look rich and deep and mysterious. I love that … ...
Surprising Ways that Shame Shows Up Shame is an insidious emotion that can sabotage our lives, especially when we’re unaware of its presence. Shame is like the many-headed mythological hydra. As soon as we lop off one head, two more appear. We may be unaware of the shame we carry and what … ...
Thoughts Change Physiology Thoughts are electrochemical events, taking place within nerve cells, and these chemical changes inevitably invoke parallel chemical and hormonal changes throughout the body—Alastair Cunningham, PhD. Get a FREE Preview of … ...
Become a Better Conversationalist With the "Rule of Three" How can you attract people to yourself and your ideas, instead of alienating them? Just change the proportion of three kinds of sentences you use in your conversation.
The Three Parts of an Effective Apology People make mistakes all the time. Not just bad people, or weak people. All people. Our mistakes are what make us human. And even when we don’t think that we’ve made a mistake, other people will often find errors in our ways. We human beings are walking offenders. Here’s the real question: If we’ve done something that offends someone else—whether or not we feel we are to blame—should we apologize? I believe that it almost always serves our highest good to apologize if we’ve hurt or offended someone else—even if we think the offended person’s anger is unjustified, or if we have a perfectly good excuse for what happened. Or if our intentions were all good. Often, the impact of our action is not what we intended. But here’s the thing: Impact matters much more than intention. Our happiness is best predicted by the breadth and depth of our social connections—our relationships with friends, family, partners, spouses, neighbors, colleagues—and so broken or fraying connections are usually worth repairing. We don’t repair a fissure in one of our relationships by ignoring it. (We have a saying in our family: You can sweep sh*t under the rug, but it is still going to smell.) And we don’t repair it by blaming someone else, or defending our actions. We initiate a repair by apologizing. But all apologies aren’t created equal, of course. (All parents have watched children spit out a forced “SORRY!” and known it was worthless.) A good apology is something of an art. So what makes a good apology? After studying that question extensively, Aaron Lazare developed perhaps the most robust criteria to date for effective apologies. Drawing on Dr. Lazare’s work, I’ve whittled down his ideas to the following three-step method for making a good apology. Step 1: Tell them what you feelUsually, we start by saying “I’m sorry” to express remorse. “I’m sorry” is more effective when we elaborate on our remorseful feelings. For example, “I’m so sorry and sad to hear that my lack of communication has made you so angry and resentful.” Or, “I’m so sorry and embarrassed that my comment caused such an uproar.” Just share the remorseful feelings, please. It is not constructive is succumb to—and share—feelings of resentment or defensiveness, like, “I’m sorry…you’re being so petty and critical.” Step 2: Admit your mistake AND the negative impact it hadThis is the hardest part, because it requires admitting responsibility for our actions or behavior. This can feel impossible if we don’t really think we did much wrong, or if our intentions were good. Ask yourself: How is the other person feeling? What did I do that caused that feeling? Could I have done something differently? Then acknowledge these things. Empathize with the offended person; the most important thing is that you demonstrate that you are trying to understand how they feel. (Don’t apologize until you actually do understand how they are feeling; if you can’t put yourself in their shoes, your apology will ring false.) For example: “I can see that my comment hurt your feelings, and that you are feeling misunderstood and uncared for.” Or to your partner you might say, “I know that it was wrong of me to call you out in front of the whole family, and that you are angry because I’ve hurt your credibility with the kids. I’m sure that was embarrassing, and it was a mistake for me to do that.” This is where most of us are tempted to offer an explanation for our behavior. When in doubt, leave the explanation out; trying to explain away our actions can seem like we’re being defensive, or making excuses. (Remember, the point is to repair the relationship, not make the other person see that you were right.) If you need to shed light on why you did what you did, be careful to continue to take responsibility for the negative impact you had. Saying, “I really didn’t know that you would be offended” is an excuse, not a good explanation. Whining that you didn’t intend for the other person to be hurt doesn’t shed light on anything. More effective would be saying, “It is no excuse for standing you up, but I want you to know that my stepfather had just had a stroke, and I was so frantic to get to the hospital that I forgot to call you.” If you do offer an explanation, it can help to reiterate your mistake and again acknowledge how the other person feels: “Again, I’m so sorry that I didn’t call you, and that you were stuck there waiting for me for an hour. I can only imagine how upset, worried, and angry you must be.” Step 3: Make the situation right Good apologies include a reparation of some kind, either real or symbolic. Maybe you create an opportunity for the person you embarrassed to regain credibility. Or perhaps you admit your mistake to others, too, as a part of the reparation. In many relationships, a hug is a great reparation. Often, all we need to do is explain what we are going to do differently the next time so that we don’t repeat the offending action or behavior. This helps us rebuild trust and repair the relationship. If you aren’t sure how to make it right, just ask, “Is there anything I can do to make this up to you?” Above all, deliver on any promises you make. When we feel guilty or embarrassed, sometimes we over-correct in our attempt to gain forgiveness. If the person is asking for something that you can’t give, say so, and say that you will give some thought to what you can give to make it up to him or her. Knowing how to apologize well is at the top of my Sweet Spot Manifesto. It’s a life skill I want my children to practice and master. And it’s one that I’m still working on myself. When has an apology made all the difference in your life? Leave a comment below. Are you craving one of these apologies? Whenever I talk or write about making apologies, people often respond by wishing that someone else would apologize to them. If this is you, please leave your story in the comments—I will try to address your situation in a future post.
The personality profile of the selfie-addict Psychologists from Germany and Poland reveal the personality traits of men and women who can't help posting selfies online.
That OCD Christmas Sweater I follow the International OCD Foundation on Facebook, mainly to see news about new OCD research but also because they seem like good people. In addition to research, they sometimes post … ...