We Teach People How To Treat Us…John Page Burton

Whenever we engage in any type of human interaction, we are either directly or subconsciously teaching that person how to treat us. We communicate these messages to our spouse, children, friends, employers, business partners, clients and oftentimes even our next door neighbors. In each interaction, we are setting the tone for how we expect to be treated and we are also defining our boundaries. (Or lack of them) This explains why some of us are willing to draw the line in the sand at the first sign of disrespect or mistreatment, while countless other people allow themselves to be physically and emotionally abused. We are also setting an example that our children are likely to follow. For example, if mom allows dad to call her names or strike her, the son may assume that this is normal behavior between a man and a women. Later in life, he may model this same behavior with his wife. If on the other hand, the son observes the police taking his dad away in handcuffs, he may very well internalize the message that violence against women is not tolerated. Later in life, when disagreements with his wife arise, he is more than likely to engage with her in a non violent manner.

Here are 5 of the most common areas in which we have the opportunity to establish our ground rules of how we expect to be treated.

  • Verbal abuse. Do we allow ourselves to be the brunt of jokes, the target of cut downs, put downs or even religious, sexual or racially insensitive comments? When they occur do we laugh, cry, just shrug it off or do we put our foot down and take a strong stand against the person who is verbally abusive? Our response to someone’s verbal abuse will either end it or accelerate it. Are we willing to use our voice and speak up when we know that something is inappropriate or do we prefer to remain silent?
  • Physical abuse. Physical abuse toward women and children has almost become an epidemic. When physical abuse takes place, are we willing to remove ourselves and our children from the danger or do we attempt to justify the perpetrators behavior? “He or she is under a great deal of stress” is never a reason to allow physical abuse to happen to yourself or your children. Justification is often used by people who are afraid to establish clear cut boundaries surrounding physical abuse.
  • Time. One of our most valuable assets is our time. We live in a fast paced world where each and every minute counts. Recently, a friend got quite upset with me. I had purchased two tickets to a sporting event and I offered one of them to him. We agreed that he would meet me at my house not later than 6:15pm, or sooner. He agreed. At 6:25 I made the decision to leave for the game which started at 7pm. (I later retrieved a voice mail at 6:40pm letting me know that he was at my house and he apologized for running “a little late”) I sold his ticket to a person standing in the ticket line and I enjoyed the game. My friend clearly understands the value that I place on punctuality and accountability.
  • Our personal appearance. Our physiology, our speech, our manner of dress and our personal hygiene speak very loudly to those around us. For example, I have a female client who is very bright and attractive. She is having a very difficult time embracing “middle age”. When she “goes out,” she dresses in provocative outfits that are more appropriate for someone in their mid 20’s. She takes great pride in the fact that men half her age still “hit on her”. However, during a recent coaching session she bemoaned the fact that she couldn’t seem to attract any successful men that were closer to her age. (Possibly because she reminds them of their daughters?) Does anyone else see the incongruent message she is sending? Conversely, I work with a wealthy, male client who is also struggling to embrace middle age. Over the past few years, he has undergone a significant amount of plastic surgery and has become addicted to body building. He believed that by changing his appearance he would become much more attractive to younger women. In one of our recent coaching sessions, he admitted that his ideal mate would be someone around his age who had an established career and who desired to travel the world. He complained that the younger women that he was now attracting were only interested in a “sugar daddy”. In both cases, my clients are actually moving away from what they truly desire, due to the incongruent messages they are sending.  
  • In the working world. The majority of us spend at least 40 hours per week in our work environment. Our work environment can provide us with a wealth of opportunities to teach people how to treat us. Do we allow our boss to take advantage of our time by routinely expecting us to put in extra time without extra compensation? Do they ask us to come in on a Saturday without giving us adequate notice? If so, do we speak up or are we afraid that if we say something we will lose our job? Do we set boundaries around what are acceptable and what are inappropriate conversation topics with co-workers? How do we react when a co-worker, manager or boss directs a sexual comment or innuendo in our direction? How do we dress at work? Do we dress in a casual, provocative, conservative or disheveled manner? Your style of dress will have a significant impact on how you are treated by both your superiors and subordinates. The way we behave in company related social settings goes a long way toward how we are treated by management and even our fellow co-workers. Do we cut loose at happy hour or do we adhere to the “2 drink maximum” rule? Were we the star of last year’s Christmas party or do we interact in a professional manner? In every work related interaction we are teaching people how to treat us.

These are five of the more common areas in life in which we will have the opportunity to teach people how to treat us. If you want to be seen as someone who is reliable, be consistent in keeping your agreements. If you enjoy being the “life of the party” it is important to recognize that some people may be leery about placing you in a role of responsibility. If you value your time, don’t allow people to waste it. If you are struggling to find your ideal relationship partner then become who you desire to attract. If you find yourself in a physical or verbally abusive relationship, LEAVE! Again, we teach people how to treat us! We can effectively do this by setting boundaries and using our voice to let others know when they have encroached upon these boundaries. There is nothing wrong with having high expectations for how we desire to be treated. The sooner we determine what our expectations are, the sooner we can begin living our most authentic life.

I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

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Learning to Manage Our “Destructive” Emotions…John Page Burton

“This too shall pass” is one of the most powerful beliefs that a person can maintain. When we adopt and speak this truth, we are communicating from a place of undeniable faith. Whether we choose to view our life experiences as good or bad, we are mindfully acknowledging that they are needed for our growth. Ultimately, how we choose to interpret our life experiences will determine our emotional relationship with the world around us.  It is relatively easy to exhibit confidence when things are “going our way” and much more difficult when we are confronted with challenges and adversity. Learning to manage our “destructive emotions” is critical to attracting success, happiness and abundance. Let’s take a look at what I consider to be our 5 most “destructive emotions” and how we can effectively manage them and begin living a happier, more rewarding life.

*Frustration. When we function from a place of frustration we are effectively blocking our creativity and intuition, limiting our ability to solve problems. Frustration is a bi-product of fear, mainly a fear of failure. Frustrated people are prone to making excuses, blaming others and personalizing every adverse experience. Our breakthrough will occur when we learn to release our attachment to the outcome. In other words, we must set our intentions and then focus exclusively on the process that will lead us to our desired end result.

*Anger. Anger is a control based emotion. For many of us, anger is triggered when we feel that we have lost control over our intimate relationships, our family, our work environment, our health or even recreational activities such as sports. Another trigger for our anger is our need to be heard and to be right. Often, we become angry when people disagree with or oppose our beliefs. For others, anger can be triggered when we perceive a loss, betrayal or violation of our subconscious rules. Our breakthrough will occur when we learn to minimize our expectations and become more flexible in our approach to life. We must learn to become more respectful and tolerant of other people and their differing points of view.

*Inferiority. This emotion is characterized by a low sense of self worth. When a person struggles with feelings of inferiority, it is not uncommon for them to live in a world of “make believe” where they project a larger than life image of themselves. Living in this fantasy world allows them to deny their actual feelings of inadequacy. Their constant fear of rejection is complimented by their long standing belief that they will never be good enough, smart enough, educated enough, affluent enough, attractive enough, or a multitude of other “not enough” feelings. They fear “looking stupid”, saying “something dumb” or doing “something wrong”. Our breakthrough will occur when we learn to accept ourselves for who we are and make the conscious decision to live in the present moment.

*Envy. This emotion is rooted in a profound sense of insecurity. Envy is a perception based emotion.  A person who is grounded in envy will never be satisfied and nothing will ever be good enough for them. Envy is a very competitive emotion. Envious people can be very manipulative and are more than capable of flying into fits of anger and rage toward those they perceive to have what they desire. Envious people can be very disingenuous, often saying one thing to someone’s face while saying something entirely different behind their back. Our breakthrough will occur when we realize that there is more than enough for everyone and that it is our job to focus on running our own unique race.

*Guilt. Guilt is a very crafty, fear based emotion. Guilt can be used to manipulate another person or it can be used to draw attention to ourselves. We may verbalize our “guilt tactics” or we may use the “silent treatment” to get our point across. Guilt can be used to validate our long standing “victim stories” or allow us to justify “being right” about our current circumstances. Guilt is often used to deflect responsibility for our actions. Our breakthrough will occur when we make the conscious decision to take full responsibility for our lives, circumstances and actions. We now recognize that playing the “victim role” no longer serves us.

Which of these emotions are you carrying around with you? How are these destructive emotions serving you? What would your life be like if you replaced them with empowering emotions?

I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

Defining R.A.C.I.S.M…John Page Burton

I was fortunate to grow up in a racially tolerant household. My parents encouraged me to treat everyone with dignity and respect. Today, I am proud to say that my circle of influence includes people of different ethnicity, religious beliefs and sexual orientations. I enjoy each of them for who they are as people and for the wisdom and value they add to my life. It is disturbing to realize just how divided our nation still remains with regards to anything that is deemed “different.”  Xenophobia is defined as a hatred towards anything that is foreign or strange. This is the ultimate “fear based” mentality. I have decided to include the xenophobes with the racists and analyze what this “fear based disease” called racism actually means.

R=Rejection. Fear based people reject anything that they don’t understand. To them, everything is either BLACK or WHITE. (Pun intended) They project their insecurity and fear into the world around them and seek out other fearful people to help them solidify and justify their misguided beliefs.

A=Attitude. Racism is the ultimate attitude of entitlement.  The premise being that” I’m better than you because you are different from me”. This is a very dangerous mindset. Anyone who subscribes to the belief that we are ALL created in God’s image can clearly see the flawed thinking behind a racist mindset.

C=Conscience. So intent on extinguishing that which they FEAR a person with racist beliefs slowly but surely extinguishes their own conscience. A person void of a conscience is a very dangerous member of our society.

I=Ignorance. People with racist beliefs have an extreme sensitivity to anything different. Rather than embrace new experiences, new cultures, or new people they use ignorance as an excuse to justify their own dysfunctional behavior.

S=Self Righteous. Self righteous people are extremely FEAR based. They use hateful words and complimentary actions to compensate for their low self esteem. They are masters of transference and justification. Their way is the only acceptable way! They are closed to new concepts and ideas.

M=Malignant. Racism (and Xenophobia) becomes progressively worse over time. Much like the genetic nature of Cancer cells, the cells of racism are often passed from generation to generation. These “racism cells” can only continue to multiply and grow through the words, actions and the examples we set for our children. To stop the growth we must stop the hate!

None of us chose our parents, our environment, our skin color, our nationality or our gender. We were made possible by and through the grace of God. Every time we allow FEAR to convince us that we are to do anything but love our neighbors as ourselves, we are in direct conflict with God’s will.

All of us bring a unique and special gift to the banquet of life. Let’s make it our goal to accept and respect people for who they are. By relinquishing our judgments we will be creating higher levels of inner and universal peace.

I look forward to your thoughts on this message.

The Law Of DISTRACTION…John Page Burton

If you are a student of personal development you are more than likely familiar with “the law of attraction”. The basic premise behind the “law of attraction” is “what you think about you will ultimately bring about”.  Numerous books have been written on the “law of attraction” and how each of us can use this law to manifest abundance in our personal and professional lives. I routinely introduce the “law of attraction” into my workshops and seminars. I consistently receive feedback from clients who are using the “law of attraction” to bring more abundance into their relationships, their health and their finances. What they are thinking about, they are ultimately bringing about.  

As a peak performance coach, I work with a diverse group of individuals. My clients come from different religious, ethnic, economic, cultural and educational backgrounds. They each possess a different set of values, rules, beliefs and guiding principles. Many of my clients embrace the “law of attraction” and put it to use on a daily basis. Others embrace an entirely different law, “the law of DISTRACTION”.  Millions of people embrace “the law of DISTRACTION” because it serves their deep seeded need to remain within their comfort zone.

A distraction is defined as a profound attraction to anything other than the situation or problem at hand.  The basic premise behind the “law of DISTRACTION” is “what I don’t think about, I will never have to worry about”. People who embrace “the law of DISTRACTION” tend to exhibit common characteristic that seem to revolve around avoiding personal responsibility.

IGNORANCE IS BLISS. “The less I know the better”. “What I don’t know can’t hurt me”.

PROCRASTINATION is critical to the “law of DISTRACTION”. We must put off until tomorrow what we could easily do today? We can then repeat this process daily and before we know it, our responsibilities will be out of sight and clearly out of mind.

EXCUSES are one of the best ways to maximize the “law of DISTRACTION”. When we spend the majority of our time making excuses for our behavior or our lack of progress, we are guaranteed to leave ourselves very little room for personal growth.

TRANSFERENCE can be an invaluable tool to those who embrace the “law of DISTRACTION”.  Nothing ever has to be about ME. I will just make everything about YOU and effectively sidestep taking any responsibility for MY actions.

BLAME is an excellent distraction. Some of the most common subjects of blame include our parents, our children, siblings, relationship partners, neighbors, teachers, coaches, clergy, law enforcement, the judicial system, the educational system, government, medical professionals and anyone else who doesn’t agree with our point of view.

THE VICTIM STORY is a classic distraction technique. The “victim” commentary usually sounds like this…”How could I ever consider manifesting something wonderful in my life after everything that has happened to me”? We all know people who identify and cling tightly to their “victim story”.  They become very resentful or dismissive whenever someone offers them a “positive” point of view. They are addicted to the drama and this addiction becomes a perfect distraction. *It should be noted that I am not making light of those individuals who are victims of horrific crimes or sexual violations.

The energy behind the law of ATTRACTION and DISTRACTION is very real. The law that we CHOOSE to embrace will have a very profound effect on the quality of our lives. CHOOSE wisely my friends!

 I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.