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How to Not Be a Dick
(Even When Other People Are Being Jerks.)
Let’s face it: We all have moments. Moments when we feel (justifiably!) angry or frustrated with other people, and moments when we lose our cool. While everyone is in agreement that there is a time and place for healthy anger, sometimes the lines can get blurred around when you’re setting appropriate limits…. and when you’re probably being unnecessarily aggressive about making your feelings known. In life coaching and therapy sessions (and especially couples counseling sessions) the topic often comes up of how to communicate well, even when you’re upset.
How do we find that balance? The balance between not being a pushover and having a right to your feelings, but also having compassion for other people? Especially (here’s the hard part) other people who may not be behaving well themselves. It’s challenging for all of us. (#lifegoals!)
The easy thing to do in the face of conflict is to lash out in anger, push people away, or freeze people out. It’s much harder to stay in the ring and find a path of mutual understanding and repair.
Emotional Intelligence Skills
At Growing Self we talk a lot about emotional intelligence, and how vital it is to having not just great relationships but career success too. We think of “emotional intelligence” as being the ability to understand other people and communicate effectively, but one of the (other) core skills of emotional intelligence is actually self-regulation. Self-regulation, meaning the ability to manage big feelings appropriately, and in such a way as to not damage important relationships.
Easier. Said. Then. Done…. particularly when you’re feeling attacked or disrespected. But when you learn how to regulate yourself and handle tough interpersonal situations well, YOU have the opportunity to find solutions, build bridges and strengthen connections.
How To Not Be a Dick
On the latest episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast, I had the great pleasure of speaking with NYC-based psychoanalyst Dr. Mark Borg about this subject, and his insights into how to lead a more compassionate life. Dr. Borg is the author of the book, “Don’t Be a Dick: Change Yourself, Change Your World” and he shared thoughtful strategies for how to:
- Gain the authentic self-awareness necessary to catch yourself when you’re slipping into unnecessary “dickishness”
- How to handle challenging interpersonal situations with grace and tact
- The mindset that will help you stay compassionate with people who are not behaving well
- Strategies to handle extremely triggering situations with your family around the holidays (without getting sucked into conflict)
- How to use the power of empathy for yourself, and others, in order to make the world a better place
All that, and more, on this episode of the podcast. (Both the video and audio versions are included below!)
I hope this perspective and advice helps you and the people you love.
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How to Not Be a Dick, with Dr. Mark Borg
Music Credits: Wimps, “Baggage”
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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.
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