Anger

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Improving one’s interpersonal skills can turn around many unhealthy relationships. If you are interested in saving your marriage or saving your relationship with friends and/or co-workers, my free manual is an excellent guide to help you learn how to communicate more effectively. Good communication skills are the main ingredient to achieving a healthy relationship.

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When you find yourself becoming impatient with a loved one and you feel like yelling at them, take a minute to stop and work on your anger management techniques. In my manual, I give step-by-step anger management tips that are sure to help any relationship. I talk about taking time out to gather your thoughts. I list various ways to talk through your issues. I give many examples that will help you turn a bad experience into a positive one.

If you don’t have the time to attend anger management classes, or seek anger management counseling, simply using my suggestions will enable you to enjoy the same results by learning to keep your cool while communicating your thoughts.

Whether you are a man looking for marriage advice, or you are a parent who is concerned regarding anger management for kids, I can help you approach the subject in a non-threatening way which will be beneficial to everyone involved.

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1 Thing You Need To Know To Avoid Arguments

TAKE AN ADULT TIMEOUT.

About 30 years ago I attended an on-site traffic school (yes, before you could do this on-line). Most of us had been ticketed for speeding. The instructor introduced himself and talked about boring statistics and useless facts so most of us were half asleep. Right before the break he said, “Would you like to know how to NEVER get another speeding ticket?” Clearly he got our attention. He took his time and said, “Never go faster than the posted speed limit”.

Speed Limit

He now had a room full of disappointed students. We were all looking for inside information. No one was prepared when he simply said, “Don’t speed”. We wanted something that helped us get away with speeding. We wanted a trick. We wanted an easy fix. Instead he offered us a conventional sure-fire way of not spending the next Saturday in his classroom.

Are you shaking your head right now? Do you feel like you were misled? Let me assure you that sometimes the simplest solution is actually the best solution. I have applied this lesson often over the years. There is an easy way to do things and there is a hard way to do things.

Back to the subject of the 1 thing we can do to avoid an argument. Most conversations don’t start out as arguments. Arguments tend to happen when people say things too quickly. Arguments tend to escalate when we jump the gun, listen with half an ear, or defend behavior we shouldn’t defend.

Time and space gives us perspective so we can silently decide what we want to say. Both allow us time to think more clearly as to what our end game will be. The various possibilities are:

  1. To be heard and defend our position
  2. To win the argument
  3. To hear what the other person really wants
  4. To make peace while finding an amicable solution.

 

We all have our own lists; take the time to think about what your list would include.

I recently found myself having conversations that could have easily ended in disaster. Different opinions and goals came into play. In a few of these conversations, the result could have been hurt feelings and strained relationships if I had not taken an adult timeout. Harsh words can be said and before you know it, an argument could ensue that might have been avoided. If you find yourself in this position, try any of the following before you lose your cool. Simply say:

timeout

  1. “Let me think about that and get back to you.”
  2. “It sounds good, but I need to give that some thought.”
  3. “You make a good point; however I need to think that over.”

And if you find that you have said words you regret, or if you were just plain wrong, it is okay to call the person back and say:

  1. “I am sorry”.
  2. “You were right”.
  3. “I made a mistake”.

sorry pup

Although these tactics might seem like common sense, they are often ignored when we are tired, angry, or frustrated. Therefore, taking the time to cool down allows the groundwork for a comfortable solution.

Think about these suggestions the next time you feel that a conversation is going in the wrong direction.

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family. I welcome all comments.

When Should I Get Involved

I have had some very interesting discussions lately about the issue of what is our business and when we should mind our own business.

My brand new car was recently hit in a parking lot. The person did not leave a note. I mentioned this to a friend. Actually, I mentioned this to everyone who would listen as I was really pissed-off. That’s right, I am the person who would leave a note.

fender bender

One friend told me she witnessed a fender bender in a parking lot where the driver was about to leave the scene. My friend told the offender that she should leave a note. The woman told her in very colorful language what my friend could go do for the rest of the afternoon.

I then relayed this to another friend (like I said anyone who would listen). Her opinion was that it was none of my friend’s business, and she had no right to get involved.

I don’t consider myself a Dudley-Do-Right, however, I do feel that as friends, neighbors, and people who share a planet where we have laws, decent people watch out for fellow human beings. I understand there is the risk of getting yelled at or cursed out. Yet, if your house was being vandalized, wouldn’t you want a neighbor to call 911? If your child was bullied in the schoolyard, wouldn’t you want another student to help him or her?

earth copy

Yes, there is a fine line between walking behind every person who throws a gum wrapper or cigarette butt on the ground (although these are so my pet peeves), and witnessing physical violence. And I suppose the line is different for each of us.

Most people are concerned that the offender will turn on them. Many people feel that if they aren’t the ones being affected why bother. Me? I would have told the woman that she should leave a note or I would have written her license plate number down and called the police.

Why you ask? Because if that were my car being side-swiped I would want some concerned individual extending that courtesy to me.

I would love to hear your views and/or personal stories on this subject.

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family. I welcome all comments.

How Do I Avoid Causing a Fight Regarding a Sensitive Issue?

Once a week I meet with a good friend to walk around a beautiful area that offers brilliantly green grass and a lake filled with ducks. We love this time together because it allows us to take in the peacefulness of our surroundings while we chat about things on our mind.

On a particular walk, my friend started out by saying she had a bit of a dilemma, and she wasn’t sure how to handle it. She told me that for the past several years she has been instrumental in organizing a day at the beach with three friends. The day is centered around a game called Mah Jongg. For you it could be a family dinner, a holiday with friends or any situation where you are either a host or guest.

poker

There is some planning involved as well as quite a bit of setting up and breaking down of the game, at the beginning and end of the day. My friend is more than generous when it comes to putting everything together along with being responsible for providing all the necessary tools to make the day fun and easy.

These women are fun to be around, and she genuinely enjoys their company. The problem you ask? A few of them come like guests and leave the same way. It never occurs to them to help.

While on our walk the other day, my friend decided that she would no longer include the few women she felt took advantage of her. I simply said, “Do you enjoy playing with them?” Her answer, “Yes.” So I said, “Then why don’t you tell them how you feel?” Her response was, “It is not my job to teach them good manners.” And that is where we left it.

I received an email from her two days later. After we said goodbye, she thought about what I had said and decided to address her feelings with one of the ladies involved. She told me that at first this person was defensive. Then after a moment or two of reflection, this woman admitted that she didn’t even realize how thoughtless she had been. She went on to say that in the future she would be helpful.

Cleaning up

I was extremely impressed with my friend for opening up the dialog, as I know this is never easy. However, how can we possibly know that our own behavior is bothersome if we don’t get feedback from our friends and family?

Is there is someone in your life who is important to you, yet you find you want to spend less time with that person either because of their annoying habits or their inconsideration? If this resonates with you, I urge you to take the risk like my friend did, and find a way to approach the things that bother you.

In order to truly resolve and move on, it is important to share in an open and non-threatening way. It is crucial to hear what the other person has to say. This shouldn’t be a contest in which it is decided who is a better friend or who is the most annoying. Remember, this is someone you care about and someone with whom you would like to remain friends.

Keep in mind that the goal is to have a healthy exchange of feelings and thoughts. Not every conversation needs to be a confrontation.

It has been my personal experience that people become closer when they clear the air with an open heart and an accepting attitude.

In my upcoming book, 12 Ways To Discover What Makes You Tick, I have a chapter entitled, Standing Up For Yourself. I give examples, exercises, and suggestions on achieving your goals.

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family. I welcome all comments.

When Should I Give Up On A Relationship?

It is really hard to do justice to this most difficult subject. The real question is, “When is it time to throw in the towel and quit on someone and the relationship that you shared?”

Walking_away_by_CorruptDream

I sincerely believe that most friendships can be improved with open, non-threatening conversations. I feel that relationships are successful when no one is keeping score. I honestly believe that healthy boundaries and mutual respect are essential to friendships that pass the test of time.

There have been times I have parted ways with close friends for weeks, months, and in one case many years. Sometimes it is hard to come back from angry words and major disappointments. We all have expectations of what a real friend means to us. The discord comes from people attributing different definitions of what a BFF has to do or be to qualify for the title.

Ginger kitten under the ear of a sleeping Basset pup

So this brings me to the subject of, “When should you give up on a relationship?” The cold truth is that NOT all friendships and relationships are meant to be lifetime commitments.

My personal thoughts regarding the time to move on are the following:

  1. Trust has been broken and cannot be repaired.
  2. The friendship has become toxic and/or unhealthy.
  3. There are more fighting times than good times.
  4. Your personal energy is compromised and you feel unhappy after spending time with this person.
  5. You no longer have things in common that you once shared.

It is normal to feel sad when you are faced with the loss of someone who at one time was very important to you. It is normal to expect that you will miss that person. Pictures, holidays, and fun times shared can never be taken away. Treasure these, as they are imprinted on your heart. However, and this is very important, don’t keep someone in your life simply because there was a time you were close. You have a right to expect the people you care about to have your back, and for you to have their trust.

Know your own worth. Don’t settle for less…not in yourself, not in your friends. The dictionary defines the word friend as a person you know well and regard with affection and trust. This is the least we should expect from those we call a friend.

When I was teenager I was told if you could count on one hand the people you can really depend, upon you are doing well.

I address this subject in several chapters of my soon to be published book, 12 Ways To Discover What Makes You Tick. I give examples, exercises and easy to understand solutions. You can look for these in the chapters I call, Honoring Yourself and Don’t Spend Time with Negative People.

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family. I welcome all comments

How Can I be a Better Person?

In the 1997 movie As Good as it Gets, Jack Nicholson’s character tells his ladylove, “You make me want to be a better person”. While this might seem corny 18 years later, there is much to think about here.

We all have people in our lives that elevate our behavior. These people take the high road; they show patience and compassion, which we view with awe. Being around them just ups our game. Their kind of energy and behavior is a very positive influence on our lives.

Mighty Mouse

 

And then there are the people in our circle that we can truly say, “I don’t like me when I am with you”. In a recent conversation with good friends this very topic came up. I actually broached the subject when I found myself reacting to someone else’s rage by disregarding my ‘good judgment’ and saying things I later regretted. Not that these things didn’t need to be said, but it was the manner in which I expressed myself that I regret.

I take full responsibility for what comes out of my mouth and what flies off the pages. However, it is not lost on me that we all have those people in our lives who can ‘push our buttons’ like no others can.

 

Frog with Large Mouth

There are many articles written (mine included) that give sage advice on how to avoid going down the verbal lane that leaves behind many wounded, including ourselves. Some of the most common bits of wisdom are:

  • Take a time out
  • Don’t use the argument as an excuse to dump years of anger
  • Give the other person the chance to talk
  • Address only the issues
  • Don’t yell or talk in anger
  • Agree to disagree

The truth of the matter is that sometimes these rules just don’t work. Sometimes we have to make difficult choices. Some relationships are simply toxic. And although there can be much sadness in the loss of a friendship, there often is a defining moment when it is VERY clear that changes need to be made. Not every friendship is meant to last a lifetime. When we stop being nice to one another or when we take that person for granted or when we feel there is more anxiety than happiness, perhaps it is time to close this chapter. This is never easy to do, for we often spend endless hours thinking about the good times. We often drag out pictures of silliness and laughter we had once enjoyed. We do this at the same time we question whether we truly want to permanently end all contact.  But in the end, it is in our best interest to use sound judgment and if need be, give ourselves permission to move on.

During our lifetime we teach others how to treat us by what we expect and what we ultimately accept. My personal gauge: I am close to people when I feel ‘good about me’ being in their company. These people don’t demand, they ask. They appreciate, they do NOT keep score.

Each one of us should have our own personal list of what is a deal breaker in our relationships. Spending time with positive people can make us want to be a better person by being around them.

Don’t you agree?

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How Can I Become A Better Listener?

This is a very interesting subject to me. We all hear about studies that are done regarding witnesses to an accident. If there were five eyewitnesses, there would be five different accounts of what happened.

I believe the reason for this is because we tend to bring so much to a situation. Pre-conceived ideas, past experiences, our own view of what is short or tall, slender or heavy. And, to top all that off, many of us make conclusions before hearing or seeing all of the facts.

It is no wonder that relationships become strained from communication issues. Many of us tend to hear what we want, that is of course, other than our own tone and judgment, and many times we are forming our defense and rebuttal long before the other person has explained themselves.

Why is this? Are we so anxious to “set the record straight”? Are we so impatient to be heard because we think we won’t remember the point we wanted to make?

hand-to-ear-listening

I suppose there are many reasons. However, I believe most of us can do a much better job of being a better listener. Just because someone has an opinion and states it, doesn’t make it a fact. And, we really aren’t obligated to answer or defend anything we don’t want to.

My feeling is there would be less arguing and bad feelings if we spent more time working on ourselves and less time pointing out other people’s faults.

wagging-finger-2

My feeling also is we might just get some insight into how we are seen by others if we tend to get the same kinds of feedback from many different sources.

So, what does this have to do with the eyewitnesses to an accident? Just that we are human, and our memories are convenient. Even so, we might learn and grow if we open ourselves up to the possibility that there is actually another viewpoint other than our own.

Do you agree?

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How Can I Control My Stress Level?

If I were to compare my ‘stress plate’ with a ‘turkey plate’, I can only describe it as over-stuffed.

 

Thanksgiving-Dinner

As I write this, my 12-year-old Beagle is having leg surgery. I myself will be having hand surgery in 3 weeks. Next weekend is our family reunion, which is out-of-town (yes, along with joy and fun there is ALWAYS stress when everyone gets together), plus the normal challenges that life presents us with.

While driving Roxie to the vet this morning, I was VERY aware of my heart beating a bit faster and my anxiety level starting to become uncomfortable. Just before I ‘allowed’ myself to become fully overwhelmed (still working on this challenge), I noticed the car in front of me with the license plate that said ‘Kope Grl’. Before I could fully appreciate the irony, it dawned on me that the song on my play list was from Frozen – “Let it Go”.

It amazed me how quickly I began to calm down as my thoughts changed to the following: “In a few days Roxie will be better.” By the beginning of the year, my hand will be much better, and lastly, along with the stress of all of us getting together (which restaurant do we go to, or will it be a movie or walk downtown), will come laughter, fun and the love that only families can provide.

The truth is that life is a mixture of calm and stress. It provides us with ups and downs, and as the saying goes, “You can’t get a rainbow without getting rain.”

 

rainbow-wall-sky-rainbow

So, the next time you find yourself letting your ‘stress plate’ get overloaded, try to use your internal tools, i.e., deep breathing, counting to 10, and acknowledge that time has a way of healing what ails us. These things will help to stop you from becoming immobilized and help you to cope with the stress that comes with living.

Agree?

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How Can I Become a More Positive Person?

If someone were to ask you whether you tend to fan the flames or calm the fire, what would you say? I am referring to arguments, discussions, or a difference of opinion.

 

fanning-flames

Some people are great at defusing potential fights. Others are great at taking something relatively small and helping or causing it to become WWIII.

When you think about your interpersonal relationships, would the people in your life say, “YOU stir things up”? Or would they say, “YOU help calm the situation”?

Your tone of voice. Your physical stance. Your attitude says something about you. Do you talk behind a person’s back? Do you create an atmosphere of hostility? Or are you the one who tries to be a calming presence to those around you?

How well do you know yourself? How would you like others to see you?

I have recently been an unwilling participant in a situation that went from bad to worse. When I reflect on the scenario, I can now see how it was handled, but more importantly, how it could have been handled.

We can all do a better job of taking responsibility for our part when it comes to the work environment, our social encounters, and our personal relationships.

For me, I would like to be viewed as someone who elevates a situation, not someone who fans the flames and causes chaos and ill-will.

two kids handshake

 

Think about how you are seen, but more important think about how you would like to be seen.

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Who Will Be There For Me?

The other day while walking my dogs. a dog without a leash came bounding across the street.  He was big, he was fast and I immediately became concerned.  Although he didn’t act or look like a threat, my little dog could have started barking and I found myself concerned that things could get out of control.

While telling the stray dog to go home, I am the one who did exactly that.  I managed to get my two pups back in the house.  I then grabbed some dog treats and walked up the street to try and find this dog’s home.  Yes, I was uneasy, yes, I was a bit nervous.  My biggest fear however, was that this beautiful dog could get hit by a car.

All turned out well as my friend and I worked together to read “Gypsy’s” tags and locate the owner.

Before that happened, I approached a lady across the street where it turned out Gypsy lived. The lady was in her car in her driveway.  I said, “Hello, I am wondering if you know this dog or it’s owner.”  She looked at me while still in her car and said, “No, and I am not a dog person, and it’s not my business.”

In my mind, I couldn’t help but take her lack of compassion to the next step.  If she heard a neighbor lady scream, would she NOT call 911 because it wasn’t her business?  How often do we hear about a crowd watching someone being bullied or assaulted and walk away?  I understand fear of retaliation or taking a chance that the attacker would turn on you.  However, reporting the incident, offering to make a phone call, some gesture of helping someone in need…

It didn’t take me long to use my imagination and escalate this scenario.

There are many variations of the following poem.  It was written by Martin Niemoller (Jan. 14 1892 – March 6 1984).   I immediately thought of it.

People in prison

“When the Nazis came for the communists, I did not speak out; as I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats, I did not speak out; I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews, I did not speak out; as I was not a Jew.

When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.”

We need to really think about the world we want to live in and the messages and lessons we want to leave our children.  After all, history has shown that the future of our world is truly in our hands.

No matter how big or small the situation is, if we aren’t there for each other, who will be?

Hands holding hands

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