How to be present when others are losing it

Do you struggle to know how to be present with someone when they are upset or angry, or when you are tired or going through it yourself? I’m very often struck by how people can lack the ability to “be with” people emotionally, especially those who work professionally with people in challenging situations. It’s like our buttons get pushed or we feel inadequate or lack the resources we need. Somehow, people say, they “aren’t qualified” to handle it. When people kick off I remember once on a Gestalt training course unpacking a whole load of grief around the impact of … 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 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

Are you living your life in a way that really serves you?

In these holiday months it might be customary for some of us lounging by the pool in some sun-drenched beautiful location to reflect on the pace of life, and ask why do we put up with it and why can’t we do things differently. The lazy discussion on living your life as you really want, after say some complaints about the sharing of tasks, might result in some intentions to make changes. Yet like lambs to the slaughter we go back to our driven, city-centred life-styles and very quickly all the relaxation and sense of wellbeing has vanished and we’re … Read more

Time to have those change conversations

It’s holiday season and many of us are now headed to nice places on long-anticipated breaks. Despite the desire to de-stress and get some leisure and family time it can often also be time to think and reflect on where you’re going in life too. We might seemingly need to leave work well behind us, and yet for those for whom work hasn’t been so good recently, or that simply the change signals are cropping up, we might have some questions to ponder on. That long-needed break can be when we can just allow our minds to wonder more creatively … Read more

People need to feel more connected to you

Do you find yourself talking about a matter perhaps quite close to you and somehow people don’t seem to quite understand? You might for example be talking and there’s a non-reaction in your audience, like there’s no energy in the room, and people looked switched off, and perhaps bored and distracted. It’s likely that they’re disengaged. So how do you get them so they’re more connected to you and what you’re saying? Today people need to get from you how it really is. Which sounds good, except that often you don’t know how to convey it, at least not in … Read more

When you are caught up in anger remember that there is a field

Are we being “paranoid” and over-suspicious of state surveillance and control allegedly conducted in our interests or do we simply accept what we can’t influence? Is state (and organisational) surveillance by democratically elected bodies something that we have nothing to be fearful of so long as we act in integrity and are law-abiding? How far is surveillance and individual autonomy a hazy boundary and to some extent something we also create through our own insecurities. Is this sort of issue also an aspect of a human tendency to be fear-based at the ego level? In a week in which we … Read more

To define who you are by your work or relationship has its dangers

To define who you are by work or relationship risks a loss of a sense of self We’re reaching that time of year when the winter is almost but not quite over, we’re feeling bedraggled and we need a holiday.  Easter time is nigh! Thus lots of us are now heading off to various climes with a good book or a well-stocked Kindle, miscellaneous bits of kit for activity long missed, plans for conquering distant hills and vistas, and with maps, guides and packets of tea. The sense of adventure and new horizons stimulates a tired brain and brings new … Read more