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How to break away from unhealthy argument patterns

Have you ever experienced or watched the type of argument where person A brings up a small issue to person B and 10 minutes later it becomes a full-blown, out of proportion, life or death (of the relationship) situation?

Well, it’s unhealthy and stressful because it adds unnecessary tension. It can be avoided. It’s a pattern/habit and so it can be broken and we can learn instead to argue healthily. It sounds difficult but I know that it’s possible because lots of couples manage arguments without the relationship breaking down.

Usually there is an underlying cause that has been sitting unresolved for days, months, even years. Whenever a pattern is triggered (yes, there’s always a trigger in a pattern), the couple ‘dances’ from point to point, more like punch to punch in a boxing match, if you can imagine that. This escalates the argument, stoking the fire with past resentment, mixing in past betrayal, or past misdemeanour until the argument is not about that small insignificant issue they began the argument with any more.

Here are the steps to change the pattern:

1. Recognise that you’re in a pattern.

2. Make a commitment to change something.

3. Listen to your partner’s perspective first.

4. Check that you’ve understood their point.

5. Always speak from the “I” position.

6. State your intention.

7. If you’re already triggered, recognise that and step away, take time out.

8. When you’re both calm enough and not tired, preoccupied, or hungry, then approach your partner again with your intention.

9. Speak clearly what you need to get across.

10. Check that the other person understood what you said.

11. Agree on the next action, if there is one, or if you can’t agree about anything, agree to disagree.

Some don’ts:

Don’t blame or criticise the other person.

Don’t use the words “You never…” or “You always…”.

Don’t bring up the past.

If you try these, and want to share how it goes, leave a comment below.

What I learned from Deepak Chopra’s book “Self Power”


16 September 2016

What I learned from Deepak Chopra’s book “Self Power”

Self Power – a path to the true self, has taught me these very important life lessons that I can practice on a daily basis.

Maturity – developing into an independent adult by taking responsibility for yourself; standing up for moral values; playing your part in keeping society together, beginning with the basic unit of society, your family; treating others with respect; behaving fairly and working towards justice in every situation; learning the value of restraint and self-possession.

Purpose – finding a reason to be here by doing at least one thing that is selfless; reading poetry, inspirational prose that makes you feel uplifted; sharing your ideals; expressing your purpose of being here; aiming to inspire with modesty; helping your children find their purpose; and acting from your highest values.

Vision – adopting a world view to live by; looking beyond everyday events to their higher meaning; questioning your habits of consumption; leaving time to be with yourself; putting your values to the test by trusting int he universe to take care of you; appreciating the present moment; seeing others around you as reflections of your inner reality; reading deeply into scriptures and literature that express you vision.

“Second attention” – seeing with the eyes of the soul, from this level a person transcends the physical world, following intuition and insight; accepting that the soul is the basis of the self; seeking their source in the timeless; aspiring to higher states of consciousness and trusting in invisible forces that connect us with the cosmos. Listening to the quietest part of yourself; trusting that its messages are true; learning to centre yourself; don’t make decisions when you’re not centred; bonding with people from the soul; seeking silent communion with yourself and your surroundings; spending time in the natural world, soaking up its beauty; seeing past the mask of personality that people wear in public; expressing your truth as simply as possible.

Transcendence – going beyond the restless mind and the five senses by staying centred; when carried away by a strong emotion or impulse, taking a moment to come back to yourself; not giving in to anxiety of others; in every situation where you feel confused, asking “what is my role here?”.

Liberation – becoming free of the “reality illusion” by seeing beyond your limited situation; dwelling on those moments when you feel free, exhilarated, unbounded; seeking love as your birthright, along with bliss and creativity; dedicating yourself to exploring the unknown.

Global teachers

Japan 2015 0422 October 2015

Today’s topic is how and what I learn from ‘global’ teachers.

I have always been an avid reader and ever since I discovered there was a genre called ‘self-help’ and ‘self-development’ section in bookshops and libraries, I’ve been browsing those kinds of books more intently than any other kind. I tried unsuccessfully to ‘quit’ reading those books a few times, thinking it was ridiculous that I keep gravitating towards them, surely I’m all sorted by now – I’m a counsellor for goodness sake! Of course this self-development work is never done, never finished. We keep developing ourselves, keep changing, keep continuing to better ourselves, progress, improve, elevate, grow, strive, etc etc… I read a book called “Who will cry when you die?” by Robin Sharma a few weeks ago and in it, Robin talks about having all his heroes on his bookshelf to give him wise words when needed, and I realised I’m not the only person who keeps referring back to global teachers, dead and alive, in times of need for encouragement, direction, wisdom, clarity. It seems other people do this too, I’m not so odd.

So what I do is I read books written by great teachers and write notes on the lessons I learned from them, and keep them safe in my journal and refer back to them whenever I need an input. These are the recent and old books, websites, and blogs that I like, it’s not an exhaustive list as I haven’t written down all the books I like in one place:

Who will cry when you die? by Robin Sharma – read about life lessons.

A road less travelled by M. Scott Peck – read about love and other life lessons.

Mindfulness meditation by Mark Williams – learned to meditate the mindful way.

The five love languages by Gary Chapman – learned what my love languages are

so I can communicate better with my loved ones.

Daring greatly by Brene Brown – learned how to harness my courage in the face of fear.

The gift of therapy by Irvin Yalom – the many lessons to be learned during therapy.

Journal to the self by Kathleen Adams – how to journal.

Desire Map by Danielle Laporte – learned to identify my desires so that I can create goals with soul.

Money a love story by Kate Northrup – money advice for creating abundance.

Gabrielle Bernstein – guidance from a spiritual teacher.

Marie Forleo – for creating a business with a heart.

Kris Carr – for great nutritional advice.

I hope to read many more wise words by world’s teachers and also home to develop myself as I grow older so that I can be in a position to pass on my wisdom and insights to younger generations.