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Empathy, Kindness, and Maturity

“Rickey, you’re looking like you’re feeling blue,” I said softly to this 13-year boy I had been counseling for a few months.  As I looked at him, I observed some sadness rising up within me. “Ever since I remember, I always slept with my dog, Prince,” Rickey mournfully replied.  “This morning, when I woke up, he was…he was…he was dead.  He died!”  A tear began…

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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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DEALING WITH SUBTLE FORMS OF CRITICISM

If you have been following this blog, you know that from time to time I have been discussing insults and criticism.  In earlier posts, we looked at situations in which people end up feeling insulted because someone provided negative criticism. I have argued that rather than to feel insulted, it is possible to learn to welcome criticism, as well as words that might come off…

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THE ART OF PLAYFUL TEASING

Teasing is a game sometimes known as bantering, joshing, crackin’, rankin’, playing the dozens, and trash talk.  You are judged in part on the quality of your insults and also how well you keep your cool on being insulted. Even the most mature people may like to play the teasing game, for they enjoy the duel of wits and the occasional humorous comeback. MATURE VERSUS…

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NELSON MANDELA AND THE ART OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION

“Great anger and violence can never build a nation. We are striving to proceed in a manner and towards a result, which will ensure that all our people, both black and white, emerge as victors.” (From Nelson Mandela’s speech to European Parliament, 1990.) As I write this post, we are in the middle of South Africa’s 10-day mourning period for Nelson Mandela. Although I myself have…

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GIVING SOMEONE THE COLD SHOULDER: WISE OR FOOLISH?

In the above scenario, as Dagwood gets into bed, rather than greet him with warm, open arms, Blondie has turned her back to him.  Because she has become angry with him, all that Dagwood is going to get from Blondie on this night is Blondie’s cold shoulder. What Does it Mean to Give Someone the Cold Shoulder? When we are in a relationship, if someone…

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ANGER, STRESS AND UTILIZING THE CHRONIC STRESSORS SCALE

Last week I began to answer the following question from one of my students: “I have been finding many of my new conflict resolution skills very helpful.  However, to my dismay, sometimes I’m feeling stressed out and then if I become angry I find my skills fly right out the window.  Why do you think that this occurs, and is there anything I can do…

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ANGER, STRESS AND THE SIGNALING TO BACK-OFF TECHNIQUE

While taking my conflict resolution class, Sara, a young woman around thirty, asked the following:  “I have been finding many of my new conflict resolution skills very helpful.  However, to my dismay, sometimes I’m feeling stressed out and then if I become angry I find my skills fly right out the window.  Why do you think that this occurs, and is there anything I can…

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CRITICIZING YOURSELF MATURELY: A LESSON FROM BLONDIE

Over the course of the last few weeks I presented some lessons that aim to get you to think about immature and mature ways to provide negative criticism to yourself (see CRITICIZING YOURSELF: FIVE LEVELS OF MATURITY and CRITICIZING YOURSELF MATURELY: A COMIC STRIP LOVER’S GUIDE). As I’ve pointed out on many occasions, becoming a master at utilizing the higher levels of maturity takes more than just thinking…

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CRITICIZING YOURSELF: FIVE LEVELS OF MATURITY

Earlier, I wrote a post titled “Providing Negative Criticism: Five Levels of Maturity.”  When I gave examples of people using the five levels, they typically involved someone providing criticism to someone else.  And yet, if you think about it, you probably criticize yourself at least as much as you criticize others. So, it is time that we begin to take a good hard look to…

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