Family

How to Fight Like an Adult

I just got back to NYC after an amazing 2 week vacation with my boyfriend and the best part of our trip wasn’t swimming with sea turtles, sunsets, or sex. It was fighting with him. Nothing tells me more about a relationship than how we handle conflict. And you can be sure that 2 weeks with me is bound to create conflict, whether it be my incessant need to both drive and navigate or my hanger when I’m not promptly fed. In the past, I wavered between needing to be right about everything or shoving my feelings down and agreeing with people like a passive-aggressive martyr. It was enough to give you whiplash. But after enough failed attempts, I’ve finally learned how to respect my boundaries and handle conflict in a loving way. So how did we use conflict to bring us closer and not break us? 

We followed these 5 simple rules:

1. Keep the goal in mind. I often ask myself, “Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy?” This isn’t to quell my insatiable thirst to win, it simply reminds me that the goal of conflict is not to win, it’s to find a resolution. 

2. Avoid grandiose statements.  I’ve been known to lack an edit function when I speak. And on most occasions, that’s still true. Except when there’s a conflict. If I’m consciously using Tip #1, I have the ability to reflect on how I’d feel if I heard the crap coming out of my mouth. Statements like “You always...” or “You never...” immediately tell the person that shit is about to hit the fan. One instance of doing something that you don’t like doesn’t define your partner or his behavior throughout the relationship. Sure, it’s easy to lump things into patterns. And in an effort to keep ourselves safe, it’s our immediate instinct. But, you’re more likely to find a resolution if you treat the event as an isolated incident.

3. Replace your conjunctions. Similar to #2, sometimes the little words make all the difference. Replacing “but” with “and” shifts the conflict from a struggle to a solution, “I know you think we should go on a hike, and I’m hungry, so what can we do about that?” That’s very different than “I know you want to go on a hike, but I’m hungry. Feed me now!!!”

4. Confirm your understanding. Most conflicts are heightened because we don’t hear what the other person is saying. Left to my own devices, I am either planning my retort or unconsciously assigning meaning to things. A simple, “Can you help me to understand why you feel that way?” or “what I’m hearing you say is that…” not only brings me to the present situation, but gives the other person an opportunity to clarify his meaning. 

5. Say what you want instead of what you don’t want. There’s a difference between a complaint and a constructive comment. Instead of “I can’t stand when you leave the toilet seat up,” it’s more effective to say “I’d really like it if you’d put the toilet seat down after you use it.” A positive approach puts people at ease rather than signaling them to prepare for battle. 

And there you have it. 15 years of unnecessary conflict consolidated into 5 tips. Use them and watch your relationships with friends, family, and coworkers transform!

20 Things I Wish I Knew in My 20s (but probably wouldn’t have listened to anyway because I was in my 20s)

Today I’m 30! For many people (especially women), it’s a scary time. It’s the moment we realize that life looks nothing like we expected it would. Personally, I’m a glass half-full kinda gal. Instead of focusing on what I’m missing, I’m thinking about the bullets I dodged, the lessons I learned, and the life I’m working to create. My 20s have simultaneously been an incredibly formative time while also being the decade where I’ve made a myriad of mistakes. After all, I’m a work in progress, but there have been some huge takeaways…

The 20 Things I Wish I Knew in My 20s:

  1. Don’t be afraid when reality doesn’t match what you thought it would look like.
    When I was a kid, I thought high school would be exactly like the show “Saved By The Bell.” In reality, nobody was friends with the principal, our lives didn’t revolve around kidnapping our rival’s mascot, and I couldn’t fit in my locker. But more than that, I thought I’d be confident and mature. Similarly, I look at my friends in their 40s, an age where I thought everyone has it together and realize they are still figuring it out, too. Here's why that's a good thing: when you're stagnant, you're dead. Anyone who tells you they have it all figured out is either an idiot, a liar, or hasn’t truly lived. So whatever your perception is of what things “should” look like, let it go.
     

  2. Don’t be so focused on the future that you ignore what’s in front of you.
    This applies to everything! Don’t future-trip in relationships. Don’t work so hard that you can’t enjoy the little things. Don’t spend so much time “pursuing” happiness that you forget that you have access to it at any moment you choose.
     
  3. Courage is a decision.
    It’s not an emotion, it’s a choice. Your fears can’t shape your life unless you’re happy being unhappy. You don’t need to be “ready” to make a change. You just need to acknowledge your fear and take action anyway.

     
  4. You aren’t too old for a career change.
    No matter how many degrees, time, and money you’ve put into something, it’s a sunk cost. You don’t get it back by sticking out something you don’t love. Don’t listen to your parents. (Sorry, mom!)  You aren’t “playing it safe,” you’re playing it scared. Do you really want to live with regret because you were afraid to pursue your dreams and embrace your potential?

     
  5. You are going to change.
    I was pretty adamant about a lot of things in my 20s. Things I believed to be universal truths. For example, in my early 20s, I thought holistic health was a bunch of witchdoctors prescribing tea. Clearly, a lot has changed. Often, we acknowledge how much we’ve grown and changed, but we think that we won’t change in the future. We assume all our growth has led us to this point where we’ll remain. You’re always evolving. Accept it.

     
  6. Nobody’s opinion is more important than your own.
    Other people’s views are not more relevant than your own. It does not matter if they are older, more successful, or better educated. Their opinion is simply that, an opinion, nothing more. Learn to cultivate self-trust, knowing that what’s right for you is your truth, no matter who disagrees.

     
  7. Nobody is good at life. We’re all learning.
    “#Winning” is not real. It’s not growth or true success. Knowing yourself is. Don’t ignore your flaws, but lean in and get curious. Nobody likes you more just because your Facebook is filled with photoshopped selfies and check-ins at cool places. Your waistline, your resume, and your job don’t make you better at life. Owning your shit and loving yourself because of it is what makes you a winner.

     
  8. You don’t need to know what you want.
    There’s so much pressure to know “what you want to be when you grow up.” Most of us are in careers that have nothing to do with what we studied in school. We’re taught to pick a career and stick with it forever, but that’s an antiquated view. If what you’re doing is making your skin crawl, you probably won’t “grow into it.” Don’t commit to something just because you’re supposed to. It’s fine to play it safe as long as you’re experimenting with things that actually light you up.

     
  9. Everything is “figureoutable.”
    Don’t know how to do something? Google it, Youtube it, find a mentor. My greatest accomplishments are the things I was terrified to do because I didn’t know how. Everything can be figured out, it’s about resourcefulness, not resources.

     
  10. You don’t have to be loved by someone to be lovable.
    Your worth is not dependent on other people acknowledging it. You aren’t more valuable as a person just because you have a partner, more Facebook friends, or any other form of external validation. Until you can self-validate you’ll always feel like you’re lacking.

     
  11. Be aware of what you’re really upset about.
    When it’s hysterical, it’s historical. If you’re going from 0-60 because they forgot to give you extra hot sauce with your order, it’s triggering an old wound that hasn’t been healed. Don’t take it out on the delivery guy. 

     
  12. Communicate as your best self.
    This means a few things: 

    -Stop thinking whoever can shout the loudest is right. 
    -State your needs.
    -
    Don’t avoid conflict just because it feels icky or you think the person won’t like you. Stating your truth and being rejected is better than being loved for someone you are not.  I could go on and on about communication, so I’ll simply say communicate as your best self.
     
  13. Other people’s shit is other people’s shit.
    This one is huge. You aren’t a good friend, lover, or family member by taking responsibility for other people’s problems. The goal is interdependence, not codependence. Support others in a loving way, but allow them to work things out on their own.
     
  14. Don’t try to change people.
    Accept them where they are. Love them for who they are, not for their potential or who you wish they would be. I spent my 20s trying to change others instead of myself. But as the serenity prayer says, “grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” My advice: know the difference and don’t take it personally.

     
  15. Acknowledge that this moment won’t last forever (even if it feels like it will).
    Everything in my 20s felt like it lasted forever. Waiting for a guy to call me back, for a promotion, for things to “go my way.” When I was struggling with severe Depression, my best friend gave me a ring that said “gam zeh ya'avor.” Modeled after a magic ring of King Solomon’s, it translates from Hebrew to read, “This too shall pass.” Whenever I was sad, I looked at it and found the strength to continue. (And I tried not to look at it when I was happy!)

     
  16. You don’t need to settle.
    In my culture, single women in their 30s and 40s are cautionary tales. When I was unhappy in a relationship, I was taught to “make it work” lest I wind up alone for the rest of my life. That may be the worst advice I was given. Ever. The truth is that “the good ones” are not a limited commodity. And until you know yourself, you won’t know who is right for you. If I had married a man simply because I was supposed to, I’d already be divorced. The best way to find the right partner is to be the real you, not the you you’re supposed to be.
     
  17. Forgive your past screw-ups.
    I’ve made so many mistakes. For most of my 20s, it was the only way I learned anything. But after learning the lesson, I held onto the pain and guilt instead of surrendering and forgiving myself. Often, we focus on forgiving others instead of forgiving ourselves. And while it can be painful and challenging to have compassion for ourselves, it’s the first step to letting go of your old story and writing a new one. The truth is that you can’t go back in time, but you can focus on what you want to create in the future. For more on how to forgive yourself, click here.

     
  18. Find gratitude for the good, the bad, and the straight up ugly.
    One step past forgiveness is gratitude. While that may sound crazy, it’s the fastest way to accept who you are and where you’ve been. It’s easy to find gratitude for the good things, but being thankful for the painful experiences allows you to embrace your growth and transformation.

     
  19. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
    Nobody knows everything. Most of us simply fake it. There’s no weakness in asking for help. Just be sure to ask the right people. Ask the person who has what you want. Your partner, friends, and parents, though convenient, aren’t necessarily the best sources.

     
  20. Find your tribe.
    Just because you were friends as teenagers or in college, doesn’t mean you need to stay as close. As you develop into your true self, you’ll align with people who mirror that. Transition can be lonely, but you’re more likely to find real friends if you're your real self. 

Bonus: I wanted to write so many other things like impulse control and a tirade on poor grammar, but I’ll leave you with this: Nothing good happens after 1 am and nothing good comes from drinking alcohol in the form of a shot. Seriously, nothing.

 

They say that your 20s are for defining and your 30s are for refining. I couldn’t be more excited to see what the next decade brings! So here’s the takeaway: No matter where you are, it’s never too late to learn from your past and embrace your potential. 

Share your story in the Comments Section below!

The 10 Traits of Emotionally Resilient People

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Ever notice how some people are stressed during transitions while others can “roll with the punches?” It all comes down to emotional resilience. While some of it may be biological, there are 10 traits that you can start cultivating today to start living life with less resistance and more ease:

Emotionally Resilient People:

1. ...Wait for what’s right over what you want right now.

Yup, just like the classic Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, this is about impulse control- the ability to stop and consider whether you want to act on a desire. For example, when a family member makes you angry, your immediate response might be to lash out. However, impulse control allows you to pause and assess whether that’s really the best course of action in the long run. Delaying gratification and controlling our urges allows us to choose actions that align with our best intentions.

2. ...Sit with discomfort

Similar to #1, those who are emotionally resilient are able to tolerate discomfort. Remember that thing you said out of anger? (or hunger?) How would that response have been different if you had tolerated your discomfort for an hour? While #1 was about choosing the best action, this is about sitting with an emotion without taking any action.

3. ...Get some perspective.

If you’ve ever said to yourself, “hindsight is 20/20,” then you recognize the possibility that it may be true for your current situation.  Often, when we’re in the trenches, it’s hard to see the bigger picture. Sometimes things happen FOR you, not TO you. What seems painful now might actually be the gift you couldn’t give yourself.

4. ...Practice acceptance.

Acceptance is not the same as complacence. It’s not about giving up and letting the stress take over, it's about experiencing the full range of your emotions, trusting that you’ll bounce back. 

5. ...Remember the power of time.

The emotionally resilient remember that time heals all wounds. People who have a tendency to feel depressed often fear spiraling back into it, but feeling an emotion is not the same as getting caught in it. Think back to the last time you felt like this, you may have thought it was the end of the world, but you recovered. The same is true now.

6. ...Don’t need all the answers.

Often, when we try hard to find answers to difficult questions, we “try too hard.” This blocks our intuition and prevents us from receiving answers. The emotionally resilient know that it's okay to not have it all figured out. They trust that they will find the answers when they are ready.

7. ...Engage in self-care.

Emotionally resilient people know that self-care is a non-negotiable. It’s a daily practice and commitment to self that strengthens their inner resolve. Ranging from exercise, to meditation, to a cup of tea, the resilient have go-to stress busters that don’t involve hitting the bottle.

8. ...Can laugh it off.

Sometimes things just suck and you simply need to laugh it off. Humor goes a long way.

9. ...Choose to be happy instead of being right.

Emotionally resilient people know that being right is not what will make them happy. Sure, it’s nice to be right, but it’s better to be happy. Ask yourself is this fight really worth it? Are you fighting to resolve the situation or fighting to win it? In any moment you can choose what’s more important to you: the relationship or your pride. 

10. ...Cultivate joy and gratitude.

Instead of focusing on what’s wrong, the resilient focus on what’s right. There is always something to be thankful for. Remember, where attention goes, energy flows. So why not cultivate more of what you want instead of what you don’t.

  

Ultimately, emotional resilience is all about attitude.  As Bo Bennet said, “Having a positive mental attitude is asking how something can be done rather than saying it can’t be done.” By developing these 10 traits, you’ll be able to spend more time living with ease and grace, spending more time in the light with fleeting moments of darkness. Or, you can continue to fight tooth and nail and see where that gets you. The choice is yours.

Share your tips & tricks with the Community in the Comments section below!