Do you love to be in nature away from other people?

Is there a part of you that prefers to be in nature, away amongst mountains, by the sea or in the countryside, where there aren’t any people and you have to yourself the splendour of nature? Do you get times when you want to get away from the stresses and strains of dealing with your fellow humans and the crowded cities? Just recently someone was telling how she comes into her own when in nature, in the silence and stillness of remote mountains and their vast and massive rocky majesty. I thought, “me too!” Your special place, if that is … Read more

Is the love-hate relationship between peoples out of control today?

Am I imagining it or is the love-hate balance tipping too far towards hate? Are you feeling uncomfortable about the seeming rise in antagonism towards minorities? Where’s the love and peace? We seem to be in the middle of one of those phases in public life where there’s a desire to blame the ills of life on scapegoats, be they Muslims, benefit claimants, Roma gypsies, immigrants, another religion, another nationality or whoever. Equally we have extremists who have fundamentalist outlooks and see themselves engaged in some climatic struggle against the forces of evil. So, how do we respond from a … Read more

Do you relate well to others?

Do you relate well to others personally and at work? Do you inspire, lead and motivate them well, or do you struggle in the “people” aspect of your job? It’s common for people to minimise this part but it’s crucial to things going well. Business leaders have finally woken up to the fact that “soft skills” make a big difference to the bottom line, after years in which people have denied its importance and minimised the value of such training and coaching. Many in the Learning and Development industry will of course be thinking “told you so”, but it must … Read more

Do you feel dumped upon emotionally by other people?

Do you often find that you’re dumped upon by someone? Like it’s their stuff but somehow you’ve got the problem, particularly if they have the knack of making it look like it’s your problem, or you have a way of taking it on board and thinking it is your problem. It’s easy to feel the victim in such circumstances but not so easy to hand the problem back to the other person, especially if you are not so assertive. Then if we try to hand it back, it comes back at us big time! It helps if we can pause … Read more

Are we losing our ability to have empathy and to connect?

We must have all done it, a family gathering at Christmas and at a quiet moment you come into the room and everybody is on their phones or tablets, with snippets of conversation in between. Perfectly normal, you might think: everybody is wishing friends a Happy Christmas. Except that that is what occurs a lot right through the year where people are together or alone. This world is now getting brilliantly connected. Yet do we notice any disconnect with others we’re with? Being a big user myself but also a coach of relationship and interpersonal dynamics, I’m frequently observing what … Read more

Do you let loneliness get to you or choose to change?

After all the activity of Christmas comes the loneliness of January, in the depths of winter, with cold, grey, sunless days and long nights. What was all that festivity about if life is really like this? There are those who feel lonely in relationship and want a change, but there are very many today who aren’t in one and feel the lack of company very much at this time of year. Statistics abound about the rise in the number of people in the UK living alone, around 16% in recent surveys, and in the US it is over 50%. Of … Read more

We seem to be becoming a very divided society – or am I dreaming?

Am I imagining it, or are we becoming a very divided society and alienated from one another? And if this is true, then how do we respond to this, to our fellow humans’ tendency to differentiation, of seeing another as different and as a threat? One area that has been concerning me for some time has been the growth of a tendency in society to separate off from one another in terms of nationality, religion, ethnicity, gender, physical ability and welfare dependency, among other differentiations. At one level this may not seem new, one might think “T’was ever thus”, but … Read more

Sometimes it’s hard getting that others feel differently to you

Realising that others have a different perspective, that others feel differently, can be one that we resist. Moreover we can refuse to accept it, let alone empathise with it or see it as legitimate. Such is often the nature of disputes that keep us separate and at odds with our actual or former loved ones, neighbours or others we fall out with. Thus reaching beyond the divide, letting go of the pain and taking a higher perspective is often a necessary but challenging path. It’s like we just don’t want to let go! As a continuing student of history and … Read more

Being mindful of our perceptions helps us to understand others better

Interesting that a woman’s selfie showing her against the background of a man on Brooklyn Bridge being persuaded not to take his own life has attracted notoriety on the net. It’s a good example of the assumptions we can make of people’s behaviour. To many, this is the ultimate in selfish “me first” behaviour, where people see more interested in themselves and how others see them than concern for what might be happening to others. Some take it further to present this incident as about a disconnectedness within, where people don’t feel others’ pain and indeed can find humour in … Read more

When banter becomes abusive to another

When does banter become abusive, such as for example harassment? I was having an interesting discussion about this the other day and most in the group thought that banter was good-natured humour directed towards someone else. How can this be a problem? However, I suggested that one test as to whether it is no longer “good natured” is how the recipent might feel as a result. If you look up the word “banter” the OED has it as “the playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks”. In certain organisations banter can be quite common-place, and it can be part of … Read more