With that kind of approach, you'll find you're able to bypass others' defensiveness and help them feel safe enough to be open to what you have to say. Yield Theory offers a practical and efficacious methodology for handling conflict. It's not complex to learn, but it takes effort to master. You are already en route to mastering whatever communication style you currently practice, but when you practice Yield Theory, you are actively practicing the kind of communication style that will help you get around others' defensiveness, no matter how extreme, and to speak in ways that are actually heard. The more you learn about typical behavioral patterns, including the common effects of internal and external dialogue, and the more you understand and honor each individual's unique experience of existence, the better chance you have to see both the forest and the trees. The more you learn about your ego--including how it's triggered and how you can set it aside to approach others with humility (rather than meeting anger with more anger)--the better able you will be to connect with others in tremendously powerful and transformative ways. Acknowledgments As Lord Alfred Tennyson had Ulysses say when he arrived back home after being gone for twenty years: I am a part of all that I have met. I always believed that the way he had Ulysses deliver that line encompassed my experiences entirely, as well. That being said, I am also so particularly grateful to Dorothy Hearst, Kelly Lenkevich, and everyone at Sounds True for their support, kindness, and tremendous guidance on this article. What else can you do, really, besides pointing out that right there on those shoulders of hers is a head that could use a really good shaking? Nah, not worth it. As my husband is fond of saying, Don't confuse thoughtlessness with malice. I try to live by those words. For reasons exemplified by the well-intentioned woman at the bar, we are judicious with whom we share our parental status--which is, to borrow from the performers' union to which I peripherally belong, membership withdrawn in good standing. who have entered our lives in the third act, the one after childhood/adolescence and marriage/parenthood, may not be aware of our loss. As much as we feel as if we're missing a limb or have a face tattoo, our grief doesn't show. enter our house and see pictures of a smiling teen holding her cello, a sparkling bride flanked by her beaming parents, or a painting of our daughter embracing her sleeping baby. The obvious conclusion is that we have a child and a grandchild, and they ask about them. About two years after losing Lauren, we met new neighbours who had no idea about our family's story.

But once the perks of the new relationship wear off, this is what the Superior Dance looks like. Though psychotherapy is structured as a one-way relationship, the patient is still accountable to compensate the therapist, to respect the parameters of the relationship, and to work with the therapist to achieve change. Therapy breaks down when these boundaries break down. Psychological resources, when misused, only enable regression and bad behavior. Being Less Good When I left my work at a psychiatric clinic to open my own practice, clients no longer paid for sessions at the front desk. They paid me, and if I didn't get paid, there was no corporate umbrella to cover my salary. I had good coaching on the business side of practice and learned to establish clear parameters about payment from the beginning. But I was devastated one day when a client quit on me and sent me a scathing letter about how I seemed more interested in getting my fee than in helping her. Her letter played on my every worry about whether I was really a good person, whether my motives were indeed selfish. I'm beyond grateful to my parents for instilling in me an insatiable passion for learning and storytelling that are the basis of all the work I do. I'm indebted to my manager, Jeff Schwartz, and his incredible team: Aly Fingleton and Alan Eisenson (who have believed in me and supported me for years), and to my incredibly hard-working literary agent, Jill Marr, for helping this project come to fruition. I most especially want to thank my daughter, Kaia, for being who she is and for inspiring me every single day (this article, as is everything I do, is for you, Kaia). Finally, I want to acknowledge and thank my wife, Kristen, who read every word of every version I wrote of this article, and who stood by me and listened with complete faith and encouragement when I first told her about sharing Yield Theory with the world twenty-one years ago. You will master whatever you practice. If you practice a skill, you will master it. If you practice being angry, you will master that, too. If you practice complaining, you will master that. And this is also true: It's never too late to master something new. So even if you've gotten really good at acting impulsively, it's never too late to start practicing--and mastering--self-control.

They came to our home and asked if we had children, and immediately the filter questions clicked into place. Were we going to see these people again? Someone we spoke with said they say they have two children here and one in heaven. I'll never play the heaven card, so that's out. But it works for her and that is truly the most important thing. Leslie would even have to say, I have two here and two in heaven, given that she suffered the loss of her first baby during pregnancy and then lost an adult son as well. Just how honest do we have to be here, anyway? Is it a case of people asking how you are and not really wanting to know? Because that happens a lot too. There are so many things to consider when deciding how open to be about something as enormous as the loss of a loved one. I asked an experienced colleague what he did when clients complained about his fee. He said, I tell them I like money. He wasn't being cheeky. He was being sincere. He went on to share that to deny his interest in being paid would be dishonest and unhelpful. He said, Of course I explore with them what it means for them to pay me and the associated feelings, but the reality is, my fee is part of what makes me enjoy my work. I reflected on this for a long time. To admit I liked the money meant relinquishing my superiority. The client needed something; I needed something.

Your mind always wants to match your body. In other words, if your body feels anxious, your mind will race to create a story to match what your body is feeling. your body feels agitated, your mind will quickly search to find a reason (or make one up) for why you feel the way you do; and most of the time, that reason your mind creates involves something someone else said or did. The more you understand that your mind wants to match your body, the more you can avoid creating a story to match how your body feels. Every emotional situation has a beginning, a middle, and an end. No matter how bad you feel, ever, no feeling can last forever. There will be a beginning, a middle, and an end to everything you experience. It's wise to avoid making an impulsive decision in the beginning or middle of a tough situation that will leave you with a worse ending. There is a huge difference between guilt and shame. A few months after moving to British Columbia to begin the next article of our lives, we were invited to what we learned was an annual barbecue at a neighbour's house. As this was our first time meeting many of the people on our street (except for a friendly wave while we passed their homes on our dog walk), we weren't sure who knew our story. I'd come from a life where it seemed everyone was aware of the loss of our adult child. So you can forgive us for having the feeling that people would know; But in this new life, there were very few people who knew the reason we'd left our previous lives in search of new ones in a new city and province. So we wondered: Would we be asked the question? If people did know, they didn't say, Oh, you're the new folks whose daughter died. There were two nearby neighbours who may not have been kept abreast of the talk of the street--if there was any to begin with. Reality check: why would there be? As we waited in line for burgers and salad, I struck up a conversation with the woman, who had at her side a lovely young girl.

I wasn't above her; I was across from her. My desire for money was not opposed to my desire to help her but an integral part of it. And if we both got what we needed, we would both be happier to be there. The way out of the Superior Dance is to allow yourself to be less good. By less good I mean less selfless, less controlled, and less removed from human needs, desires, and impulses. So the fragile bully accuses you of hogging all the attention at the exhibit. Instead of denying this possibility and defending your virtue, try, Yeah, I like attention, too. If the fragile bully accuses you of not defending him at a meeting, you might admit that your needs were in conflict with his at that moment. These responses don't have to be flippant or insensitive, and in fact can come hand-in-hand with expressions of empathy. Guilt is feeling bad about something you've done. Guilt can be a helpful guide to teaching you how to learn from your mistakes. Shame, however, is feeling bad about who you are; and twenty-plus years of experience in the field of counseling have taught me that people who live in shame act out of shame. It's wise to learn how to move beyond shame, because you are not your actions, and as long as you're alive, you have tremendous opportunities to spread kindness and compassion to others. We would rather be angry than anxious or depressed. It actually feels better to lash out in anger than it does to sit in the awful chemicals that our brains release in anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, after we lash out in anger, we often feel very bad about what we've done. Then we add to the shame we already feel (and remember, those who live in shame act out of shame). The more you understand how to recognize the anxiety and depression that your body feels, the better you can avoid mindlessly lashing out in anger when you're anxious or depressed.