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Suicide, Perfectionism, and Criticism

Sometimes I’m asked why I write so much about dealing with criticism. The answer mostly has to do with the types of concerns that have been expressed to me over the years. Some involve the desire to be liked and respected.  Others have to do with seeking to gain control over anger.  And still others come from parents who find that how they go about…

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Providing Negative Criticism: The Newest Guidelines

Readers of this blog well know that I often discuss immature and mature ways to provide negative criticism. Originally, I presented a post titled PROVIDING NEGATIVE CRITICISM: FIVE LEVELS OF MATURITY.  There, in addition to providing an outline of what I believed was a good starting point to think about this topic, I asked readers for suggestions on how the outline could be improved. Many…

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Fear, Cowardliness, and the Military

Last week my blog post asked, “Does Your Fearfulness Make You a Coward?”  While attempting to answer this question, I pointed out that viewing yourself as a coward when you experience fear consumes time and energy. Moreover, it is way too simplistic. Fear is actually a highly valuable emotion. It motivates us to take some wise precautions. And the fact that some people can fearlessly perform…

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Free of Fear

A few nights ago, Andrea and I went to see a show billed as “The Free of Fear NYC Debut and Album Release Concert.” Our two sons, Lennon and Jack, had written the album’s music, played most of the instruments, and were the front men for the show, so naturally we went. My expectation for the evening was to see a set of musicians walk…

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On Responding to the N-word

Leonard Pitts, Jr. is a columnist, author of three novels and winner of numerous awards including the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary.  When I heard a couple of weeks ago that he was speaking at Flagler College, having enjoyed reading his insightful column for many years, I eagerly went to see him.  Mr. Pitts’s formal presentation was well received.  Then, he began to take questions…

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IS IT WISE TO BE ASSERTIVE?

When I first started to teach a graduate course at the University of Minnesota on conflict resolution, from time to time a student would ask me to compare what I was teaching to assertiveness training. “From what I know about assertiveness training,” I explained, “it teaches a very narrow skill that can be helpful at times, particularly for very shy people.  But it doesn’t adequately…

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TO CHANGE, OR NOT TO CHANGE?

My goal in writing this weekly blog is to encourage readers to make some changes that can lead to improvements in the quality of their relationships.  But some people have no patience for this line of thought. Below is a slightly edited version of a discussion that illustrates this view.  Names have been changed for privacy considerations. The Discussion Ed: I do not understand why…

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CAN A CONFLICT EVER BE TRULY RESOLVED?

“How’d things work out between Blondie and you?” you ask in a concerned voice upon running into your friend, Dagwood.  “Did you manage to resolve your conflict?” “Yeah, um…well, I’m kinda not sure,” he replies. When it comes to whether or not a conflict has been resolved, sometimes people feel confused, or they end up engaging in needless arguments about this. Today we spend some…

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RESOLVING RECURRING CONFLICTS

One day Beetle Bailey and Sarge have a conflict: As you can see, eventually the conflict is resolved. But a few days later, the two have another conflict. Again and again other conflicts spring up between these same two individuals.  These recurring conflicts come about with a distinctly higher frequency than usual for two people in the types of situations in which they live and…

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GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE’S USE OF INSULTS

In earlier posts on this blog I have advocated that it can be helpful to become familiar with five levels of maturity for responding to negative criticism and five levels of maturity for providing negative criticism (see for example Providing Negative Criticism: Five Levels of Maturity).  In those posts, I have contended that when responding or providing negative criticism the use of insults tends to…

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