How To Overcome The Fear Of Conflict

I developed an intense fear of conflict when I was young, and it has hung around with me for a long time. The fear evolved as a series of things led to each other: I used to find the fights between my parents very frightening as a kid, and never experienced any of their conflicts actually being resolved. Conflict was scary, and never seemed to have a positive outcome. My parent's anger during conflict always felt out of control and destructive to me, so I decided that anger was a bad emotion to be suppressed at all costs. Plus my religion taught me to “turn the other cheek” rather than to stand up for myself when I was being treated in ways that I didn't like. As an awkward, sensitive boy I was bullied mercilessly at my sport-oriented all-boys high school.

When we are afraid of conflict, other people can treat us like this.

When we are afraid of conflict, other people can treat us like this.

So the message I internalised was that conflict was scary and often led to me getting hurt. I developed an intense fear of conflict: Any time I was under threat or being criticised, I would collapse into sadness or be overwhelmed with fear. I didn't know how to utilise my anger to stand up for myself in times of conflict, nor had I been taught the communication skills to resolve conflict in a win/win manner that left me feeling empowered.… Continue reading…

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Are You An Angry Young Man?

Anger is one of the emotions that I have found most difficult to deal with in the past. I grew up in a house where anger was handled in ways that I found very frightening, leading me to become very afraid of conflict. This meant that I made a decision fairly early on in life that anger was a "bad" emotion that I should suppress at all costs. I became very ashamed of anybody knowing when I was angry.

I ended up internalising a lot of rage and unhappiness. I just didn't know how to let anger go and how to get it out of my system. It wasn't until the last few years that I even realised just how angry I was deep down.

I now know that anger is not "bad" emotion; it's just a signal that our needs aren't getting met. Anger provides energy for us to act assertively in situations where people are treating us in ways we don't like. If we've learned to be passive in the face of our anger, that energy gets trapped in our nervous system.

Because I have many years of internalising my anger, the situations where I would have liked to act assertively have long passed.… Continue reading…

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Learning To Swim

Eight weeks ago I finally got around to taking swimming lessons. It's something that I had been planning to do ever since moving to live near the beach 18 months ago. There are a number of reasons for this: firstly, I don't feel safe in the ocean when I'm out of my depth. Deep down I know that I'm not a confident swimmer and whenever I'm in deep water my body responds with a lot of anxiety. I figured that if I knew I could swim confidently I wouldn't get so anxious about not being able to touch the bottom.I go body boarding a lot and I feel relatively safe with the board strapped to my arm. But I get caught in rips all the time and I know that if the strap was to break or I lost the board somehow, I'd be in real trouble.

Plus I think swimming is a great exercise for overcoming deep-seated anxiety. The full immersion in the water gives gentle stimulation to our nervous system, and it's also a relatively low impact exercise. So long as you don't drown, that is.

Swimming: How hard can it be?

Swimming: How hard can it be?

The arm movement involved in swimming could also be particularly beneficial.… Continue reading…

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How To Deal With Angry Women

I get my fair share of hate mail on the Internet, which I find unpleasant but not entirely surprising. Many people aren't good at expressing their anger cleanly, and some of them choose to channel it into hate mail directed at me.

Being on the receiving end of somebody else's hostility can be stressful, so it's important to be assertive with these people to stop their stress from entering our emotional boundary.

Use assertiveness to stop other people's anger entering your emotional boundary.

Use assertiveness to stop other people's anger entering your emotional boundary.

He's an example from a few weeks ago: I got an email from a female ex-friend who I initially met through a blog I run, which began:… Continue reading…

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Sign Up For The World's Greatest Shave

Here is yet another confidence building tip fresh from my backyard. And today I want to talk to you about changing your appearance because if there's one thing that makes a big difference to our confidence it's making a big change in our appearance and then going out in the world and experiencing what happens when we do that and how other people respond to us.

So there are two events that I want to recommend that you get involved in which help raise money for charity and change your appearance at the same time which means you get to feel good about yourself for two reasons: firstly, you'll be helping other people; and, secondly, you'll be building your confidence.

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How To Heal Emotional Trauma

Sumelevate Life Coach Sume Chatz recently interviewed me for his video podcast about how I work with my coaching clients to help them heal emotional trauma from the past so they can move on to a happier future.

The interview packs a heap of information into a half hour, covering topics like:

  • How family of origin issues can set you up for emotional problems down the track
  • The impact of poor communication skills on our world view as children
  • How to heal overwhelming anxiety
  • The role of the subconscious and how to work with it
  • Mindfulness and the importance of living in the present
  • What I actually do in Skype sessions with my clients
  • How to coach someone in emotional trauma
  • How to get motivated towards your goals

That's a lot of valuable information for one half hour! I recommend you check it out.

emotional traumaThe one thing I didn't mention explicitly was what exactly emotional trauma is: the emotional residue left in our brains and nervous system attached to memories of any emotionally overwhelming past event that we weren't able to fully express and release at the time.

Healing trauma is important because emotionally charged memories from the past restrict our ability to be freely self-expressed and get on with life in the present.… Continue reading…

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Happy Festivus!

It's a Seinfeld classic. Just gotta share it today:

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Finding Hope When All Hope Seems Lost

I've been watching a lot of movies lately on the theme of "The Hero's Journey" that every man must take in order to grow from being a boy into being a man. I've been particularly drawn to movies that talk about hope and masculine empowerment, such as The Shawshank Redemption which is currently rated number one on the IMDB list of the top 250 movies.

Obviously the reason why this particular movie is so highly rated is that it strikes a chord deep in the soul of everyone who watches it. I've seen it several times before, but this time it's struck some nerves with me that hadn't quite been hit before.

Wisdom from The Shawshank Redemption

Wisdom from The Shawshank Redemption

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Boost Your Confidence by Growing a Mo during Movember

Want to help other men suffering from prostate cancer and depression, while also boosting your own self-confidence all at the same time?

Movember LogoOne of the simplest ways to overcome self-consciousness and boost your self-confidence is by changing your appearance... like growing a moustache if you don't normally have one. And Movember is the perfect opportunity.

You'll be helping yourself and other men all at the same time. Close to 3,300 ...men die of prostate cancer in Australia each year and one in eight men will experience depression in their lifetime. Movember is about raising funds and awareness for men's health, specifically prostate cancer and depression.

By joining in Movember, you get to feel doubly good!

So participate in Movember this November. Get your friends and family to sponsor you online, and help raise funds to support men suffering from prostate cancer and depression.… Continue reading…

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Another Happy Customer...

I literally just got this email, unsolicited, from a recent purchaser of The Confident Man Program:

Subject: Thank you - this stuff is gold

I bought your program just earlier this week and my results have been amazing in the only four days I've used it. My confidence is booming and I can't wait to see where I'll be in the time I've gone through it all. Thanks for such a simple and straightforward approach that is so practical. You've done a great thing here and I wish you the best going forward.

Made my day. It doesn't get much better than that!

Cheers, Graham… Continue reading…

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