Forgiveness by Dani DiPirro

I would call this more a collection of quotes and positive affirmations than a book.  It took me less than an hour to read, and in the end, I don’t feel like I came away with much more than a few new quotes I hadn’t heard before (all of which I found for free and favorited on BrainyQuote for future reference.) I wouldn’t say that I found this book helpful in learning how to forgive, although it did remind me of why it is important to forgive.  At the end of the book, there are some lists of ways to forgive in certain circumstances (at home, at work, in love, etc.) but they are very vague suggestions and don’t give any tips for how one would go about achieving this forgiveness.  Speaking from personal experience, when you have been hurt it is very hard to find a way to forgive even when you want to, especially if a violation of trust is involved.  I was hoping to experience a book about ways to achieve forgiveness in difficult circumstances.  Because all of the quotes can be found on the internet for free, and because most people who are picking up a book about forgiveness already want to forgive, I wouldn’t recommend anyone buy this book if they are looking for help to achieve that goal.  However, if you are looking for encouragement along the journey of forgiveness you have already started, you will definitely find it here, even if you can find it for free elsewhere.

I received a copy of this book for free to read and review through Netgalley

Coping With Difficult People by Robert M. Bramson, Phd

If you’re looking for a book to help you understand different types of difficult people, how they act, and why they act that way this is the book for you.  What I loved most about it was the focus on understanding the behavior and  the information on how to cope with people in your life who act this way.  This book does not focus on how to change other people’s behavior because that’s not possible.  The only thing we can change is our own actions and how we feel about a certain situation.  In this book, Bramson proposes we can accomplish this by learning coping behaviors. The main focus is on dealing with people in a work setting, but the methods are easily adaptable to personal life as well.

The book addresses 8 “types” of difficult people: Hostile-Aggressives, Complainers, Silent and Unresponsive people, Super-Agreeables, Negativists, Know-it-Alls, and Indecisive Stallers.  For each category of difficult person, Bramson discusses what the behavior looks like, why people do it (I love how he includes scientific information like reinforcement and not just emotional reasons)  and then explains step-by-step methods for coping using real life examples from his consulting career. The idea behind the coping methods is that they “interfere with the “successful” functioning of the difficult behavior.”

After going through the different “types” individually the author includes chapters that give a basic formula for developing an action plan that you can use when preparing to deal with a difficult person, information on different thinking styles and how they affect the behaviors of difficult people and the person trying to cope, and ways to manage the defensive behavior that will ultimately arise both in the difficult person and the person applying these coping methods.

What I found most valuable was the focus on coping.  The author stresses that a lot of times you are not going to end up with an ideal situation, but you will end up with one that alleviates a lot of the stress and mental anguish that goes along with not dealing with difficult people. He demonstrates through examples and explanations that since you can’t change a difficult person, you have the options of suffering or coping, and coping is just better for everyone involved.  I knew Bramson was hitting home and giving me applicable information when I started to see how my own actions in past situations actually fed into the difficult behavior and made it worse.  I was then able to think about what the outcome would have been if I had instead applied the coping methods detailed in this book.  I can say that I have confidence that with some practice my future interactions with difficult people will be much more successful and less stressful.

 

 

…He’ll Only Ask For More

Have you ever read the children’s book If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Numeroff?  I really enjoyed this book as a child, but I think I enjoy it even more as an adult.  I mean just look at this illustration by Felicia Bond: 2016-08-31 Don’t we all feel this way at some point?  Someone just keeps asking more and more of us until we need 8 arms just to attempt holding everything together. I look at this book as a sort of fun and light-hearted reminder for adults. Oftentimes whether it’s our boss, a family member, a friend, acquaintance or stranger, when we give someone something (no matter how small) they are going to ask for something else.  And if we don’t stay mindful it’s easy to get swept up in the demands.  We want to please others, we feel we are doing something generous, we want to perform to the best of our ability, we want to produce results.  Whatever the reason, we forget about ourselves, our personal needs, our boundaries, and we may even start to act in ways contrary to our values. It’s important to find the balance in life where we practice self care and live a life that aligns with our personal values. For most of us those values probably include things like hard work, being a good family member and helping others. But let’s not forget ourselves in all the hustle.

I have this problem a lot at work.  One way I have learned to handle it is to decide ahead of time where my boundaries lie, and what my priorities are.  During my time off, my priorities lie with my family and friends.  I make a habit of speaking about my plans for my days off at work, and about whom I will spend that time with.  That way if I have to turn down a request for overtime it’s not unexpected.  I decide ahead of time if an activity I plan to engage in is something that I would postpone for work or if it is not negotiable.  If it’s not negotiable then short of someone having a legitimate emergency (I’m talking hospital type emergency, not deadlines) I will say no to work and not feel guilty.  What are some situations where you feel this way, and how do you handle it?

 

 

Love Me Don’t Leave Me by Michelle Skeen, PsyD

51JqLOofH8L._AC_US240_FMwebp_QL65_If you’ve ever struggled with building strong and healthy relationships despite fears, anxieties and road blocks from your past, you must read Love Me Don’t Leave Me. The main focus of this book is for people with fear of abandonment, but it also goes in depth with other common anxieties that hinder relationships. I couldn’t turn the pages of this book fast enough. Author Michelle Skeen, PsyD writes in a voice that at once makes you feel comfortable and understood . She introduces the reader to her content in a way that is never boring or judgmental. In this book Skeen explores the idea of core beliefs: how and when they are formed, emotions and reactions they cause, and the affects they have on relationships. She then guides the reader through ways to recognize when you are reacting to a core belief, how to cope with the emotions and thoughts that result from your core beliefs, the consequences of unhelpful reactions based on core beliefs, and then introduces practical and attainable strategies for changing those actions.  What I love about this book is the depth of understanding I walked away with, and the knowledge that everyone can experience relief from the anxieties and fears and that relationships don’t have to be sabotaged because of them. Those of you who have read this book, what did you think?