Do you feel like you don’t get any respect? These 5 Questions can Help Change that!

rodThere comes a time in our life when we need to say, “I have no one to blame.”  If you are like me that time may have come later than you hoped, because it is a very health time of awareness.  Many go through life blaming their parents, an employer, spouse(s), friends, and for some…even their kids for not being the man or woman they dreamed of being.  Sure, all of the aforementioned do influence the projections of our life, but other than our parents we made the decision to enter into the relationships.  As I will say again later in this blog post, where you and I are in the world today is a result of the decisions we have made, the relationships we have made, and more importantly…how we have chosen to project ourselves to the world around us.  We have all been told that life is not about us, but the quality of our life will be determined by how we choose to project ourselves to others.

Do you remember the great Rodney Dangerfield?  He was a comedian whose entire shtick was based on the fact he got no respect.  He was the king of self-deprecating humor.  One of his lines was, “I went to my psychiatrist and he said I was crazy; so I told him I wanted a second opinion.  He said okay, you’re ugly too.”  As a child I loved him!  And being one of the fat and under achieving kids in the class I realized I could use that same self-deprecation to get laughs.  And even as I got thinner and better looking on the outside…I felt the same on the inside.  So I continued with my Rodney Dangerfield shtick.

The problem with my decision to project myself as the guy who always screws things up, isn’t very bright, or simply gets “no respect” is that it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.  People laugh at the jokes, but there is a part of them that begins to believe what you are saying even if or when there comes a day you don’t.  There comes a time in most of our lives when we want to be taken seriously.  If we are growing in maturity and getting healthier then we begin to realize we have something to offer the world.  We quit blaming everyone else, get our head out of our ass, and then we want our parents, friends, spouse, and everyone else to know we are not who we have led them believe.  We no longer want to be the punch line or a punching bag.  We no longer want to be told what to do, who to be, or where to go.  However, in order for us to change their perceptions we must first change our projections.  We have to change what we are projecting to the world around us or they will continue to feel the need to put us in our place.  After all, through our words and behavior we have told them we need that in our life!  We have projected a persona that says we aren’t capable!  It may be that we’ve led others to believe we aren’t capable of managing our own affairs, leading, getting a job done, or making our own decisions.  Most people don’t just assume you or I are incapable…we have lead them to believe it.

Let me ask you a few questions to help you see if this “mighty blog” can help you today.

  • Who are you in your heart?
  • Do you believe you can do more with you life if others would give you the chance?
  • Do you wonder why others don’t take you seriously or don’t see your gifts and talents?
  • Do you often times feel overlooked or disregarded?
  • Do you wonder why others think they have the right to boss you around, treat you like a child, manipulate you, or literally speak down to you?

Focus on that first question for a moment, because it is the place to start.  You first must realize that you were put on this earth with gifts and talents.  You must understand that you can achieve the things you have dreamed of achieving.  Because if you don’t believe it then you sure as hell aren’t going to convince others.  The other questions will help you determine what message you are sending to the world around you.  Simply put, you and I have to demand respect if we want it from others.  Yes small doses of self-deprecating humor and true humility are important for success, but they shouldn’t be your shtick unless you are a comedian, entertainer, or just enjoy it!

Again, if you and I want respect then we will have to demand it.  However, we don’t demand it by directly asking for it or being rude to others…we ask for it through how we project ourselves to the world.  It is time to introduce everyone to the real you so move out of your heart, into your brain, and out into the world!

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The ONE way to Deal with Mr. or Ms. Know it All!

narWe have all met Mr. or Ms. Know it All right?  They try to one-up every story, monopolize conversations, and they will try like hell to be the first to answer a question…even when they weren’t the one being asked!  So what would be the reason for this annoying behavior?  Well, it likely revolves around their narcissism or insecurity.  Some may say that the narcissist is insecure, and that is what spurs them on toward superiority.  I wouldn’t fully disagree with that, but there are a couple of differences I find between those who are acting out of insecurity and those who are truly narcissistic, and I believe it is important to be able to determine the difference.  Because one you need to run from, and the other you simply need to run toward.

The insecure person wants to be respected, because they lack self-respect.  The insecure Mr. or Ms. Know it All is practically begging to be admired and valued because of a need for acceptance.  However, the Narcissistic Mr. or Ms. Know it all feels that you should realize you need them, they are due your admiration, and they are highly valuable to any organization lucky enough to have them.

So the next time you meet someone and they are a Know it All don’t rush to judgement.  Figure out where they are coming from.  If they are insecure then take the time to breathe life into their soul!  Dr. Chuck Swindoll says, “Encouragement is oxygen to the soul.”  The insecure person will grow from your encouragement and will eventually stop being a Know it All.  The narcissistic Know it All will not.  They will feed off of admiration and encouragement, and rather than allowing it to make them a more polite and secure person it tends to inflate the ego.  And it leads to them treating others poorly, because they truly see all others as beneath them.  To sum up my point, the insecure person feels as though they need you in their life, while the narcissist feels as though you need them in your life.

 

The Ten Signs You’re Having a Midlife Crisis

exit-from-crisis-signFitz and I talked about my midlife crisis on the radio show this morning, and he had a Top 10 List for me.  New research says these are the “modern-day” top 10 signs you are having a midlife crisis.  I have to be honest and say that I have done all, but two of them!  Well, I didn’t get my back waxed, but I do have my wife Amy shave it.  And I haven’t gotten Botox or a facelift, but it’s only because I can’t afford it!

Top 10 Signs You are having A Midlife Crisis:

1.  Getting a tattoo.

2.  Getting a facelift.

3.  Getting botox.

4.  Running a half marathon.

5.  Going to a music festival.

6.  Getting your back waxed.

7.  Changing careers.

8.  Buying a fancy watch.

9.  Buying the latest gadgets or technology.

10.  Getting into extreme sports.

A few other signs in the top 40 are getting a Twitter account, buying a fancier smart phone than your kids, and buying a juicer.

Please share this with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and etc.!

Want to have AMAZING Relationships? Then read my, “ABCs of A Healthy Relationship”.

oopsI was recently in someone’s home and noticed a stone tablet that I absolutely loved.  On the tablet was what I would call the Relationship Alphabet, and for each letter there was very brief relationship advice.  Over the next several days I would like to share some of the advice with you.  A is for “Admit Mistakes” and I’m not sure people fully understand how powerful this step can be in improving their relationships. There is another way of saying “admit your mistake” and that would be, “Say you are sorry“, but maybe that will be S!

I was raised in a home where both my parent were willing to say they were sorry so this comes easy to me.  Well that and I screw up often, and I have had a lot of practice!  Many of you may be reading this and saying, “Tony my honey bunny never ever admits they are wrong and I…I always have to say I’m sorry first.”  I know that can be difficult, but if it opens up the lanes of communication and thus forgiveness then just keep taking the high road.  If it isn’t leading to forgiveness and resolution then I would highly recommend finding a good marriage counselor.  Now, let’s think about another situation for a moment.  What happens when two people who can’t admit their mistakes get together?

When two stubborn people argue and hurt one another, but never admit they are wrong or say “I’m sorry” then how do they resolve conflict?  They don’t…they simply go back to pretending that it never happened, and there is no resolution to the problem.  Therefore, as time goes by the pain and resentment are stored in their emotional and relational vault called the heart.  Eventually the vault (heart) becomes full of all those things that tear people apart, and ironically they may describe it as a feeling of emptiness.  The heart is far from being empty, and in fact it is overflowing with emotional damage.  You see, when people learn to say they are truly sorry and admit they are wrong then issues can be resolved, and the healing can begin to take place.  Thus, the space in your heart can be filled with what it was designed for…love.

Tony Russell, MA, LMHC (inactive)

If you have some thoughts or questions please feel free to send me an email below.  Also, PLEASE hit a share button below to let your friends on Facebook, Twitter, & etc. know about The Next Half.  

Podcast: A Man’s Journey from A Born Again Believer to Buddhism

 

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In today’s podcast I interview Dr. Jay Forrest about his journey of faith.  Dr. Forrest has a weekly podcast and blog called Five Minute Dharma where he helps others grow mentally and spiritually through the teachings of Buddha.  He also explains that Buddhism is not a religion as much as it is a philosophy and form of psychology.  However, the former pastor has been on quite the journey to get there!

Lying: Why we all do it & and how to know when others are lying to us!

untitledAs a child my mother made it clear that she did not tolerate lying.  At almost 80 years-old she will still say, “If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s a liar.”  If you know my mother then you would understand that is harsh language coming from her!  My sister Diane had a boyfriend who seemed to have trouble with the truth and mom would say, “He’d lie when the truth sounds better.”

The truth is…people lie, and some do it much more than others, but why do we lie?  Well according to Dr. Alex Lickerman, who has a very unfortunate last name by the way, he says there are at least six reasons people don’t tell the truth, and they all revolve around protecting ourselves.  Dr. Lickerman says we lie to protect:

  1. Ourselves, lying often to avoid suffering painful consequences, shame, embarrassment, or conflict.
  2. Our interests. Probably the second most common reason we lie is to get what we want. We lie to get material goods (like money) and non-material goods (like attention from the telling of tall tales).
  3. Our image. We all want others to think well of us, yet we all do things we ourselves consider less than respectable at times. Rather than admit it, however, and suffer a diminution of others’ respect, we often cover it up. Or, having failed to act courageously and virtuously, we lie to appear more courageous and virtuous than we are.
  4. Our resources. We often lie to avoid expending energy or time doing something we really don’t want to do (going out with a friend we find boring, attending a party we know we won’t enjoy, working on a project about which we’re not really enthused) but don’t feel comfortable admitting.
  5. Others. When asked if we like a haircut, shoes, writing, or a performance, we often lie to protect our friends’ and family’s feelings. In their book Nurtureshock Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman present evidence that children lie to their parents far more often than parents realize because they think telling their parents what they want to hear will make them happier than telling them they failed to live up to their parents’ expectations in some way. According to the research, forcefully confronting any suspected lying only makes children work harder at lying better. 

Published on February 23, 2014 by Alex Lickerman, M.D. in Happiness in this World

In a recent blog post I titled “Liar Liar” I discussed pathological lying, which takes all of the above to the extreme.  The pathological liar is the type of person that will often “tell a lie when the truth sounds better.”  But for the rest of us the above lies of protection are common according to research.  And they are the reasons you and I find ourselves in those moments with the devil popping up on one shoulder, and an angel on the other.  Now, I do want to say that I have issue with the number 5 “Others”, because if my wife has gained weight, and she asks if she has gained weight, then I’m lying my ass off!  And for the record she has lost weight and looks hot (10 points for me).

I also found the fact that we often lie to protect “Our resources” interesting, because I don’t know anyone that doesn’t do that one.  Seriously, we have all had that person who is always asking us to do stuff and we make up an excuse (another word for lie), because they are B-O-R-I-N-G!  Can you imagine the following phone call:

You:  Hello!

Mrs. Boring:  Hi I was wondering if you & Mr. Lovie want to come over for dinner on Friday?

You:  Well we would love too, but you two really bore the hell out of us.  Seriously, last time we came over…we felt like we were watching paint dry!  Oh, and your new boyfriend is a complete loser.  He was sooo annoying.  And when is the last time you cleaned your cat’s litter box?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!  Do you think it is okay to lie in order to protect yourself or others?  Below I posted a video that I found very interesting from TedTalks about how to know when someone is lying to you.  My hope is that we will all watch it to protect ourselves, and NOT to become better liars!  Please subscribe to The Next Half and share it by clicking on one of the social media tabs below!

You are Loved & Appreciated!

Tony

Are You a Jerk or in A Relationship with One, Part 2

narIn yesterday’s blog we began looking at whether or not we are a jerk, or if we may be in a relationship with one.  We even had a test that we took to determine if we are a jerk most of the time or just occasionally.  And lastly, we learned that another name for what we may call a jerk is a narcissist.  Now remember that we all have a little bit of the narcissist inside of us.  Right?  We are all a jerk from time to time, but we are looking at those who live their life focus on getting all the love, all the attention, and will do anything to make it happen.  To remind you of what exactly a narcissist is let’s review:

A person with narcissistic personality disorder may:

  • React to criticism with rage, shame, or humiliation
  • Take advantage of other people to achieve his or her own goals
  • Have excessive feelings of self-importance
  • Lie about or Exaggerate achievements and talents
  • Preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, or intelligence.
  • Have unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment
  • Need constant attention and admiration
  • Disregard the feelings of others, and have little ability to feel empathy
  • Have obsessive self-interest
  • Pursue mainly selfish goals

I believe that I made it clear in yesterday’s blog post that it is my opinion that you should do your best to avoid relationships with the high level narcissist.  And I’m not just talking about intimate relationships, but any form of a relationship.  I personally would also avoid hiring them or working for them if at all possible, but let’s not focus on others.  What about the small, medium, or large narcissist inside of each of us?  We all have a few of the traits, and that is why getting older can be so difficult.  Warning:  in the next paragraph we move toward those of us in midlife, but you twenty and thirty somethings stick around you will need this advice before you know it!

In our younger years we may have gotten a lot of attention for our appearance, athletic abilities, and the list can go on.  This is true for both men and women.  Remember walking into a restaurant or bar and had no problem getting good service, because the person on the other side of the counter wanted to flirt with you?  And do you remember going to the gym and wearing something that showed as much skin as possible, because you were proud of how you looked?  And if you really go back to the day…think about high school.  Some of you reading this were the hot item on campus.

All the things I just mentioned lead us to have at least a little narcissism in us.  And then midlife hits and the attention begins to fade, and we feel hurt.  Dr. Joseph Burgo says it like this:

In later life, when others stop looking, we naturally experience it as a narcissistic injury, as if it means that we are no longer “beautiful” and important. Even people who have never traded on their looks will find this experience painful to some degree.

I’m not going to say much more today about this topic, but I will in the next few days.  I do want to leave you with an interesting question which is, “Have you mourned the loss of your youth?”  For some of you reading this that question may not make sense to you, but some of you get me.  You are constantly reflecting back to the days of your youth, and then you fast forward to the person you see in the mirror today.  And like me, you are asking, “What the hell happened?”  Let me recommend that you begin journaling or sharing your thoughts about growing older, because that will help with your time of mourning. Yes, I’m saying that some of you are in a time of mourning, and you need to dive in and process it so that you can move on.  The world and your family needs to you to get back among the living.  I realize you think you are at death’s door, but that isn’t death’s door…that door is leading to a new and wonderful life.

Take This Brief Test to Determine if you are a JERK Or In A Relationship with One!

Photo from http://www.forfreepsychology.wordpress.com

I want us to talk about a very challenge and difficult group of people who are prevalent in society, and often in places of authority.  And if you are very unfortunate you may be in a close working or personal relationship with them.   And when I say difficult or challenging I mean that they hurt you, deceived you, and left you confused.

In everyday life we often crudely refer to these people as a bitch or asshole.  If you take the higher ground then you may simply call them a jerk, challenging, or difficult.  The type of people I want to talk about are also often referred to as ego maniacs, but there is a clinical term for them.  The clinical term for what I want us to talk about is narcissism or narcissistic.

Sharon Greenthal of The Huffington Post gives us a few symptoms and a brief description:

 Some of the symptoms of narcissism include:

  • Believing that you’re better than others
  • Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness
  • Exaggerating achievements or talents
  • Expecting constant praise and admiration
  • Believing you’re special and acting accordingly

I realize that what I’m about to say seems overly dramatic, but I want you to know that few people on earth can destroy your self-esteem, make your life chaotic, and hurt you like the moderate to extreme narcissist.  It is very important to know that you will not win an argument with them, because they have no problem “hitting below the belt” or lying to make a point or get out of trouble.  And they won’t hesitate to crush you with direct insults that may have nothing to do with the argument.  The following paragraph explains their anger like this:

The anger of narcissists…can be more demeaning. Their criticism evolves from their conviction that others don’t meet their lofty standards-or worse, aren’t letting them get their own way. “Narcissistic injuries,” or wounds to the ego, often pave the way for narcissistic rages, which can be passive-aggressive or planned out, as well as sudden. They are above you and you have displeased them and probably deserve punishment they will dole out. – Psychology Today

You must understand that life is all about them!  They want all the attention, all the love, and will do whatever it takes to get it. They will make you believe that they care about you if you feed their ego, but you must know they never get full from swallowing compliments and accolades.  In fact, like vodka tonics to an alcoholic, the more they get–the more they want.  In other words, they will suck the life out of you!

I think you get the point, a moderate to high level narcissist will make life difficult for everyone.  So now comes the difficult question of the day, “Are you a narcissist?”  The answer is likely yes on some level.  There are definitely levels of narcissism, which Dr. Drew Pinsky discusses in his book, “The Mirror Effect.”  He also designed a test for us to see just how narcissistic we may be, which I have copied and pasted below from USAToday.  It will also help you evaluate the level of narcissism you may be dealing with that person you recently referred to as an asshole!  Because if they are at a high level and refuse to get help you may need to make some difficult decision…unless you enjoy living in hell.  It will also help each of us determine if we need to do a little work on ourselves.

So let’s do this, we can all take the test and then come back tomorrow to discuss the results.  And for those of us in midlife I want to say that I believe that the higher the score…the more difficult growing older will be us.  I will explain more tomorrow, but it is very interesting.  So since I’m asking you to take the test it is only fair that I go first.  My score was 10, which I believe means I wasn’t completely honest with myself!  As you will see, there are only two options and sometimes you must pick the best of the worst (in my opinion).  So I’m guessing I’m closer to 12-14.  If you obtain a high score don’t panic and label yourself a jerk…the results would need to be looked at more closely.  Don’t get me wrong, you might be a jerk, but I just don’t want you to jump to that conclusion (insert goofy smiley face here).  Please share your results and comments!

The Narcissistic Personality Inventory (Choose the statement that best describes you):

1. A. I have a natural talent for influencing people.
B. I am not good at influencing people.

2. A. Modesty doesn’t become me.
B. I am essentially a modest person.

3. A. I would do almost anything on a dare.
B. I tend to be a fairly cautious person.

4. A. When people compliment me I sometimes get embarrassed.
B. I know that I am good because everybody keeps telling me so.

5. A. The thought of ruling the world frightens the hell out of me.
B. If I ruled the world it would be a better place.

6. A. I can usually talk my way out of anything.
B. I try to accept the consequences of my behavior.

7. A. I prefer to blend in with the crowd.
B. I like to be the center of attention.

8. A. I will be a success.
B. I am not too concerned about success.

9. A. I am no better or worse than most people.
B. I think I am a special person.

10. A. I am not sure if I would make a good leader.
B. I see myself as a good leader.

11. A. I am assertive.
B. I wish I were more assertive.

12. A. I like to have authority over other people.
B. I don’t mind following orders.

13. A. I find it easy to manipulate people.
B. I don’t like it when I find myself manipulating people.

14. A. I insist upon getting the respect that is due me.
B. I usually get the respect that I deserve.

15. A. I don’t particularly like to show off my body.
B. I like to show off my body.

16. A. I can read people like a book.
B. People are sometimes hard to understand.

17. A. If I feel competent I am willing to take responsibility for making decisions.
B. I like to take responsibility for making decisions.

18. A. I just want to be reasonably happy.
B. I want to amount to something in the eyes of the world.

19. A. My body is nothing special.
B. I like to look at my body.

20. A. I try not to be a show off.
B. I will usually show off if I get the chance.

21. A. I always know what I am doing.
B. Sometimes I am not sure of what I am doing.

22. A. I sometimes depend on people to get things done.
B. I rarely depend on anyone else to get things done.

23. A. Sometimes I tell good stories.
B. Everybody likes to hear my stories.

24. A. I expect a great deal from other people.
B. I like to do things for other people.

25. A. I will never be satisfied until I get all that I deserve.
B. I take my satisfactions as they come.

26. A. Compliments embarrass me.
B. I like to be complimented.

27. A. I have a strong will to power.
B. Power for its own sake doesn’t interest me.

28. A. I don’t care about new fads and fashions.
B. I like to start new fads and fashions.

29. A. I like to look at myself in the mirror.
B. I am not particularly interested in looking at myself in the mirror.

30. A. I really like to be the center of attention.
B. It makes me uncomfortable to be the center of attention.

31. A. I can live my life in any way I want to.
B. People can’t always live their lives in terms of what they want.

32. A. Being an authority doesn’t mean that much to me.
B. People always seem to recognize my authority.

33. A. I would prefer to be a leader.
B. It makes little difference to me whether I am a leader or not.

34. A. I am going to be a great person.
B. I hope I am going to be successful.

35. A. People sometimes believe what I tell them.
B. I can make anybody believe anything I want them to.

36. A. I am a born leader.
B. Leadership is a quality that takes a long time to develop.

37. A. I wish somebody would someday write my biography.
B. I don’t like people to pry into my life for any reason.

38. A. I get upset when people don’t notice how I look when I go out in public.
B. I don’t mind blending into the crowd when I go out in public.

39. A. I am more capable than other people.
B. There is a lot that I can learn from other people.

40. A. I am much like everybody else.
B. I am an extraordinary person.

SCORING KEY:

Assign one point for each response that matches the key.

1, 2 and 3: A
4, 5: B
6: A
7: B
8: A
9, 10: B
11, 12, 13, 14: A
15: B
16: A
17, 18, 19, 20: B
21: A
22, 23: B
24, 25: A
26: B
27: A
28: B
29, 30, 31: A
32: B
33, 34: A
35. B
36, 37, 38, 39: A
40: B

The average score for the general population is 15.3. The average score for celebrities is 17.8. Pinsky says he scored 16.

Young says it is important to consider which traits are dominant. For example, an overall score that reflects more points on vanity, entitlement, exhibitionism and exploitiveness is more cause for concern than someone who scores high on authority, self-sufficiency and superiority, he says.

The seven component traits by question:

• Authority: 1, 8, 10, 11, 12, 32, 33, 36

• Self-sufficiency: 17, 21, 22, 31, 34, 39

• Superiority: 4, 9, 26, 37, 40

• Exhibitionism: 2, 3, 7, 20, 28, 30, 38

• Exploitativeness: 6, 13, 16, 23, 35

• Vanity: 15, 19, 29

• Entitlement: 5, 14, 18, 24, 25, 27