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Managing The Pressure Of Finding A Relationship: 3 Golden Rules

Relationship Easter Bunnies

If the thought of being single has ever worried you, then read on. Today, we explore the origins of our emotions, and the societal pressures that can influence our decisions when it comes to seeking out a life-partner. Following this, we’ll analyse the circumstances and influences of men and women in the various stages of their ‘relationship years’. We’ll also cover the 3 Golden Rules of managing pressures that can influence our decisions.

Men vs Women

Equal? Yes. The same? Absolutely not. Men and women have various strengths and weaknesses that can both compliment one another, and also be the cause of many an argument. It’s reasonable to assume that these complimentary differences were an evolutionary tactic to ensure survival, and reproduction. Were the physically stronger men supposed to protect mother and child? Were the emotionally intelligent women supposed to teach the children how to love, and nurture? It seems a reasonable assumption, but what does it look like in today’s society?..

Homo sapiens (Modern humans) vs Neanderthals

You’re probably not living the survivalist lifestyle that your neanderthal ancestors once did. Emotions, feelings, and relationships served a purpose that was far more transparent – survival. Our feelings still work to ensure our survival, but it looks much different in a society full of rules. You can no longer expect to wield your club, shout “UGG!”, and leave with a suitable mate (although we are told that this does still happen in nightclubs around the world). Times have changed, as have the roles of men and women. But thats not all. The influential pressures that can set us into a mad panic to find ‘the one’ have also evolved. Just as we have considered the origins of our emotions, and the purpose thereof, we can also consider the origins of the societal pressures that evoke these emotions.

Overcoming Societal Relationship Pressures.

Societal relationship pressures can influence people to make rash decisions in order to secure a life-partner. For men and women, our circumstances and influences at particular stages of our lives will vary. The following analysis is quite broad, so it won’t apply to everyone. However, the process of analysing your environmental influences and circumstances is never a bad idea. Hopefully it will provide a point of reference on which to compare your own experiences. Lets start with the late adolescent years:

Teens to Early Twenties.

Boys and girls are beginning to develop feelings for one another, and already our emotions are leading us astray. In the school environment, one of the largest influencing factors will be peer-pressure. This factor will be present in just about every stage of your life, although perhaps never as powerful as now. We are desperately trying to find our purpose in the world, and being somebody’s ‘squeeze’ doesn’t have to be it just because that is what your friends are doing. There has never been a better time to abolish yourself of relationship pressure, and pursue your interests towards becoming a valuable member of society. In summary, peer-pressure and insecurity are the most influential factors of societal relationship pressure at this stage. Recognise it, and don’t fall victim to these new, and sometimes overwhelming emotions.

Mid to Late Twenties.

At this stage, you might have experienced a relationship or two. The smelly teenage boy with acne is now a young man with serious career prospects. The beautiful young female, is now a beautiful young woman pursuing her chosen career path, too. The pressures of finding your way into a committed relationship have eased somewhat, although are still very dependent on your peer group. However, you are beginning to understand your place in the world. Considering all of this, the insecurities of your adolescent years have probably lessened too. But after a couple of failed relationships, you might be left wondering if you’ll ever find ‘the one’… The best piece of advice at this stage would be to let them come to you. Leverage your strengths, indulge your passions, and grow and develop.

Late Twenties to Early Thirties.

Yep, theres a bit of an overlap. This is generally around the time when we throw ourselves back into the midst of school-yard pressures. Our peers have found partners, our insecurities are encouraging us to make poor decisions. There is a stigma that comes with being single past a certain age. And to add to all of that… Time. This is now one of the biggest pressures we place on ourselves – “If I don’t find some one by X years old, I’ll be alone forever!”. Take your hand off the panic button, and ask yourself, “how did I get here?”. If 10/10 people say ‘bad luck’, then some of them are probably mistaken. Perhaps some critical self-reflection is on the menu. This doesn’t mean you should blame yourself, it simply means you should seek understanding. If we accept responsibility for our situation, then we also recognise the responsibility we have to improve it. The advice again, is to focus on personal development, rather than continuing the desperate quest for a life-partner. Don’t de-value yourself, re-find your value.

The 3 Golden Rules of Managing Pressure.

In order to combat any sort of influential pressure, consider the steps below…

1. Deconstruct Your Emotions

When we are pressured, it makes sense that we will experience some negative emotions. Although an influential factor might pressure us to reach a positive outcome, the negative emotions associated with pressure itself, can do the opposite. So, slow down, and think about why you feel the way you do.

2. Critically-Reflect

You’ve considered your emotions. Now examine how you have responded in the past. Did you reach the outcome you’d hoped for? If not, why? The last thing you want to do is continue making the same mistakes. Reflect, so that you may refine.

3. Take Action

This refers to the process of taking steps towards achieving a desired outcome. If the influential factor creating pressure was encouraging a positive outcome, then putting a plan in place to achieve this outcome is a great idea. Goal setting might be an important consideration as part of this step. If the negative emotions of pressure were causing you to make poor decisions, perhaps steps towards improving your decision-making skills would be a good place to start.

Final Note: General Advice Reminder.

Trying to generalise the common relationship experiences of an entire population obviously has it’s limitations. However, it does allow a platform to explore the emotions and experiences that can go hand-in-hand with relationships, and the societal pressures that can influence our decisions. As always, thanks for reading, and we’d love to hear what you think in the comments section below.

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Conflict Resolution: The 5 Essential Skills

The Short Advice Conflict Resolution

Conflict management is an extremely important consideration for the well-rounded individual.

Simply avoiding conflict is not a viable solution in many circumstances, and certainly not one that is recommended. The longer we let our problems stew, the less likely we are to manage them in a rational, and solution-focused manner. And that brings us to our first essential conflict resolution skill:

1. Address the issue early.

Nobody is perfect. People will make mistakes and they will inevitably upset you. But communicating your feelings earlier, rather than later, can save you (and others involved) much heartache. A dangerous assumption that people often make is that their feelings are known, without them ever having communicated those feelings. “She knows what she’s doing, and she knows its upsetting me.” Hmmm, this may be so, but then again, it is equally as likely that the person is unaware of the stress they are causing. Or maybe there is an underlying issue contributing to their behaviour that you are unaware of. Either way, if you raise the issue early you allow the chance for everyone to better understand the full scale of the situation, and people’s emotions towards it.

2. Stick to the point.

Perhaps someone that you are not particularly fond of is doing something that you are also not stoked about. Always remember that the issue is with what the individual is doing, not who they are. It’s still okay not to like someone. There are a lot of people in this world, and we can’t be expected to get along swimmingly with everybody. But, we do owe all of these people a certain degree of respect, that is ultimately theirs to lose. So, set the example and treat the person with dignity as you address the actions that you have taken exception to. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be stern, or direct. Each situation will have to be judged on its merits of course, but you should always be mindful of presenting a factual, and less-subjective argument where possible.

3. Mind your delivery.

To ‘stick to the point’, is to focus on the actions and facts, not the individual’s personality with whom your qualm is with. To ‘mind your delivery’ is to be conscious of the way in which you communicate this message. Now, there are a thousand ways to deliver the same message, but only a few ways to deliver it well. Even the right message can be counter-productive if not delivered tactfully, so always bear this in mind when making your point. Whilst sarcasm can be heaps of fun, it’s generally not a good way to let someone know that they are in the wrong. Nor is yelling and berating. Rather, you should aim to take an informative, and educational tone (without being condescending). You are not assuming knowledge, but rather, informing them of the situation as you see it, and your emotions towards said situation. This is information that would be reasonable to assume this person does not know. Your calm and informative tone will hopefully encourage them to respond in a similar manner. We do all of this with the aim of creating a constructive conversation, rather than an emotion-fuelled argument.

4. Stay rational under emotional duress.

When we are trying to manage situations of conflict, we must also manage our emotions at the same time. It can be difficult to think clearly and make rational decisions when we are under such pressure, and so it is important to recognise that there is a tendency for people to become irrational during times of conflict. Unless you are made of stone, you have experienced this phenomenon before. You’ve said things you wished you hadn’t. You’ve done things you wished you hadn’t. So, as stated in a previous post about sustainable change, learn from your mistakes. Take a breath, and refer back to skills one, two and three. It’s okay to slow down and take your time. You don’t need to rush to a solution, because it may not be the right one. Next time you feel yourself becoming a bit agitated, change your tact, and remind yourself to be solution-focused.

5. Know when to walk away.

You can’t win them all. Well, it’s really not about winning or losing, is it? The right outcome for a situation of conflict might see you having to take responsibility for some wrong-doing. That is perfectly reasonable. But every now and then, we may find ourselves butting heads with an individual who is not as well-versed in conflict resolution as ourselves. Some people may simply be unwilling to allow you the chance to address your issue properly. Or maybe you are unable to appropriately manage your emotions in order to remain rational. Whatever the case, it is important to recognise when you are figuratively ‘banging your head against a brick wall’. In other words, you need to recognise when an argument is no longer constructive. Walking away might mean suggesting that the conversation be continued another time, after both parties have had a chance to consider the situation. This all depends on your relationship with the person in question, and the weight of the issue. If it is someone close, and likely to bother you in the future, it needs to be revisited. Don’t leave the matter unresolved.

Final note…

We hope you enjoyed reading about our 5 Essential Conflict Resolution Skills. If you have a specific matter of conflict you’d like some help with, head over to the homepage and give us the short story, and we’ll reply within 24 hours with the short advice. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

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How To Be A Good Father: 5 Expert Examples

Good father The Short Advice

What Does it Take to be a Good Father?

We’ve studied some expert opinions and views on fatherhood from some of Australia’s favourite dads. Being awarded ‘Father of the Year’ would be no easy feat, and so these exceptional fathers must have done a few things right. There is no one answer, but rather insightful pieces of ‘dadvice’ from these five experts. So, in celebration of Father’s Day in Australia this weekend, let’s have a look at what it takes to be a good father from some of the best in the country…

Paul Roos

Father of two boys (now adults) and AFL coaching legend, Paul Roos, was awarded the Father of the Year Award in 2008. Leading young men at home and again in professional sport, Roos believes that dads have an “enormous amount” of responsibility to act as role models for their sons. Where some people would react with violence, fathers should demonstrate how to properly react. He also notes that too many parents are afraid to say ‘no’ nowadays. Allowing kids to do whatever they please is no way to raise balanced young individuals.

Steve Biddulph

“Fathers show boys how to be good men” says Father of the Year 2000 and parenting activist Steve Biddulph. He also notes the important role that a good father plays for young women, “Girls who are close to their dads get involved with boys later, and show better judgement when choosing partners”. The underlying message of Biddulph’s ‘dadvice’ is to take an active fatherhood role. Spend more time, pay more attention and make your child feel valued. He encourages fathers to be “warm-hearted” and “involved with day-to-day care”.

Ron Delezio

His ability to “rise above the challenges” made Ron Delezio more than just a good father. He was awarded Father of the Year in 2006. After his daughter’s life-threatening injuries, he worked to raise funds for other burns victims, and had an important message to share about family… Don’t take your family for granted. Delezio also noted how the “love and dedication” he observed from other parents with hospitalised children helped to save their lives. He responded to adversity with resilience, dedication and love, and undoubtedly empowered his family to do the same.

Ben Roberts-Smith

2013 Father of the Year Ben Roberts-Smith, has played a fatherly role to his entire country, as well as twin girls. A Victoria Cross recipient for bravery, Roberts-Smith made a special note of the “sacrifice” of fathers who have served. Described also as a ‘normal dad who is devoted to his children’ the VC recipient’s message of sacrifice translates to non-military fathers too… A good father prioritises the needs of his children above the needs of himself. The sacrifices that good parents make everyday should not be overlooked. It’s an important way to show children that they are valued.

Ken Done

Australian artist and optimist, Ken Done won Father of the Year in 1989. Reflecting on the wisdom imparted to him by his male role models, Done recalls the saying “look to this day“. Sound advice from a known optimist and fantastic role model. He also speaks very highly of the women in his life. He notes that a very important part of being a man is to understand both masculinity and femininity. Both men and women have the ability to be strong and sensitive. So, perhaps the big message for fathers out of this is not to suppress their sensitive side, as tradition would have us believe.

Final Note

Raising a family can be difficult, and being a good father means something different to everyone. But, perhaps the strongest message that all of the aforementioned super-dads had to share, was about being a good role model. Children will learn how to behave by watching their parents. So, before acting, consider if this is how you would want your children to behave. But even with the best intentions, we’re not always going to get it right. We’re faced with tough decisions everyday, no matter what our role. The important point to remember is that it is okay to make mistakes. Like anything, fatherhood should be a continual process of learning. Be open-minded and adapt when you have to. Recognise your mistakes, and make sure you employ better systems to avoid them next time.

As always, thanks for reading, and we’d love to hear why your father is so fantastic in the comments section below!

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How To Be A Good Friend: 5 Friendship Tips

Friendship The Short Advice

Great Minds Think Alike

First, we are drawn to people with similar interests. Maybe music, or sport, or work. But the roots of a true friendship are the values and principles that are shared between friends. These are things that you can’t fake, and they’re unwavering. The development of a friendship like this will last for decades. And time will inevitably create opportunities to solidify friendships, and to test them too. But before any of that, the best way to find like-minded and loyal friends is to be yourself. This is our first and perhaps most important tip…

The 5 Friendship Tips

Make, and keep, great friends with these five friendship tips:

1. Be Yourself

Exhibit the behaviours that you look for in a friend, but only if they are natural to you. If you find it tiresome being a great friend, then you might also find it difficult keeping a great friend. Consider what values and principles are important to you, and what you believe constitutes a ‘good person’. If you can be all of those things, you might also be able to find them in a friendship. If you feel as though your friends have let you down in the past, it’s not necessarily your poor judgement. But it could be. So, critical-self reflection is never a bad idea. If the person you are hasn’t produced good results in the past, change might be needed.

2. Effectively Manage Conflict

Like any relationship, the ability to deal with conflict is very important. It can end a friendship, or strengthen one. Either way, conflict has an important role to play. Too often, friends are worried that voicing their concerns might adversely affect their friendship. But if you are afraid that a difference in opinion might see you go your seperate ways, then you’re probably not compatible as friends in the first place. So, talk it out. Listen. Agree. Disagree. Agree to disagree. AND never be too stubborn to admit when you’re wrong. A good friendship is more important than your pride.

3. Make Time

As mentioned above, it’s a two-way street. If you’re someone that is always there for your friends, you’re likely to attract people that will always be there for you too. Selflessness and thoughtfulness are two very important ingredients of a life-long bond, so do not underestimate them. It’s in the little things that friends do for one-another, but also the times when friends are most in need of support. Prioritise your friends during their hour of need, and they’ll remember. It’s not an insurance policy just incase you need the same level of support one day. It’s because you care.

4. Reflect on Your Friendship Skills

Critical self-reflection is something that cannot be overlooked. It’s an important part of the happiness puzzle, as it allows us to evolve into better versions of ourselves (sort of like Pokémon). If you’re someone that tends to go missing for weeks on-end and still expect to keep great friendships, you’ll need to be aware of it. You can’t just be a good friend when you feel like it, so what can you do to counter that absence? This is why awareness is key. Without it, you can’t fix the problem. On the other hand, what things make you a great friend? Do more of it!

5. Be Honest

The answer to the question “do I look fat in this?” isn’t always “no”. Bad example? Well, the point is that good friendships require honesty on all fronts. Friends are often the first point of call for advice on careers, relationships, investments, family and other important life-topics. Trying to protect your friends’ feelings now, will only hurt them later. So tell them straight. Be tactful when you need to be, but don’t paint the picture that they want to see, over the top of the one they need to see. People respect and appreciate honesty. So, don’t be afraid to say the hard things that need to be said. You’ll be doing your friend a disservice if you do anything else.

Final Note

The fantastic thing about friendships is that every single one is unique. Because every single one of us is unique. But that fact also presents challenges… There is no one-size fits all solution to every problem that a friendship might experience. However, our five friendship tips are a good place to start! If you’ve got anything you’d like to add please feel free to do so in the comments section below. Or perhaps you’re experiencing a difficult situation and would like to bounce an idea off of a friendly stranger? Head over to our homepage and give us the short story, and we’ll give you the short advice ;). As always, thanks for reading.

 

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How To Overcome Bullying: 4 Sensible Strategies

Bullying The Short Advice

Bullying Doesn’t End When School Does

School, workplace, sporting clubs, online communities… Bullying exists everywhere. And it always will. You can remove yourself from a situation of bullying, but it won’t change the fact that you are a victim. Wherever you go, you will still be susceptible to the same tactics. Running away is simply not good practice if you want to avoid this type of attention in the future. So rather than simply allowing ourselves to be forced out of our environment because of somebody else’s insecurities, we need to stand up and take action. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Some forms of harassment can be more intense, and some personalities are more vulnerable than others. Like anything that we need to overcome, it’s difficult. You’ll need to develop some resilience, and mental toughness. Below, we’ve listed four different approaches that can be used in conjunction with one another to overcome bullying.

1. Respond

How you respond initially to a situation of bullying will have a big impact on repeat offending. Generally speaking, an emotionally-charged response would be a satisfying result for a bully, as would a meek and timid one. The term bullying itself implies that one individual is asserting dominance over another. If you’re not comfortable being the individual that is made to feel lesser, it’s best to express this sooner rather than later. Calmly, and controlled, where the situation allows for it. But always directly. Directly addressing the issue, directly addressing the individual. Stick to the specifics of what is upsetting you, and leave any personal attacks aside. By demonstrating your sophisticated conflict resolution skills, you might be able to change the game altogether. This person may not show you the same courtesy, but they might actually understand. They’ll possibly even gain respect for you, because you aren’t the weak individual they’d once thought you were.

2. Reflect

What cause is there, if any? Did the bullying stem from a misunderstanding? Regardless of what actions may have brought upon this poor behaviour, it’s never justified. Having said that, finding a reason could be the beginning of uncovering the root of the poor behaviour. You can’t change a person’s very being, or the way they react to certain things. But you can encourage them to consider your point of view. For most people however, that will require you to tell them some things that they want to hear first. You may have done something unknowingly to upset them, that you’ve now come to realise. Perhaps you could offer an apology? It’s not a sign of weakness, nor is it a justification of their behaviour. Although, many people do mistake it to mean these things. So, it’s also a good idea to mention that despite your apology, you feel that person’s behaviour was unwarranted, and you’re happy that you both have a new way to communicate more effectively.

3. Interpret

Try to understand why that person is the way that person is. Put yourself in their shoes. It’s not easy when you’re harbouring such negative emotions towards somebody, so lets put that aside. Bullying is the result of unchecked insecurities, and a poor environment as a young person. What has this person been through, and what fears were they unable to overcome for them to behave so poorly? Simply by trying to understand, you’re showing a level of compassion that this individual might not have ever experienced. Next time they are looking to upset somebody, perhaps you can ask them if they’re okay. The other side to this point, is how you interpret the situation itself. Don’t give power to this person in your mind, because then they will have power over you. The offender is just a human being, like the rest of us. If you perceive them to be a big, scary, horrible beast, then that is exactly what they’ll be. If you can humanise that beast by sympathising with their insecurities, then you’ll have a better shot at understanding them, helping them, and in turn, helping yourself.

4. Support

Support goes two ways… Are you supporting others who are being bullied? If you support them, they might support you too. Helping other people to deal with their problems is a great way to strengthen your knowledge of conflict resolution skills. It also creates a network of people that care about one another, and can share ideas and similar experiences. You can look to friends and family for support, but it’s always you who should resolve your own issues (or at least try). Sometimes, a person’s behaviour is so irrational that we do need to seek the help of others. If it’s a matter of health and safety, then it’s certainly a good idea. But, for the most part, difficult situations present brilliant opportunities to learn. They help us to develop resilience and confidence and can build self-esteem too. Whatever the issue, there is always a solution, you just need to look for it.

Final Note

Bullying presents in many different forms, so there can be no one solution to overcome it. The strategies mentioned above encourage us to exercise control where we can, and use understanding and critical reflection to overcome situations of bullying and harassment. Just remember, that bullying is led by fear. And those being bullied, are allowing themselves to be bullied because of their fear. Overcoming our fear is no simple task, but doing nothing certainly won’t get us anywhere at all. So if it’s not working, try something different. There is always a solution that can improve your circumstances.

As always thanks for reading, and we’d love to hear if you’ve ever used any of these strategies in the comments section below.

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What Does Valentines Day Mean in 2019?

The Short Advice and his Valentine on Valentines Day 2018

For many of us, love has become a need that is as readily met as our primary needs of food, water and shelter.

And so, we do often take love for granted. Thats why Valentines Day serves as a great opportunity to celebrate love, and to express your gratitude to your significant other for their affection and support. However, some people would prefer to ignore this special day…

Because commerce ruins everything.

Well, not really, but it is an interesting perspective. The commercialisation of significant dates in our calendars brings out the inner cynic that lives in the shallows of us all. And fair enough too. So, should you completely can Valentines Day? We say no. And here’s why…

Celebrate your love, AND slap the man.

Kill two birds with one stone on Valentines Day 2018! Take a moment to do something nice for your loved one. Focus on the parts of your relationship that are special and unique. Express your love and devotion, but make it personal. Write your own love letter, rather than have Hallmark Cards do it for you! Besides, wouldn’t that be a far greater gift for your much-deserving counterpart? We definitely think so. But what else can we do on Valentines Day to slap the sales and marketing team at every department store that’s selling love heart chocolates?

Some things to do for free on Valentines Day 2018 include…

Picnicking (if weather permits), home-cooked candle-lit dinners (because where is the effort in paying for a meal?), hand-written love notes (OMG beb I love you, 4 real), making and presenting a photo album, or simply reminiscing on all of the reasons you have to be grateful for one another. So, don’t get duped by the sales team this V-Day, and the common misconception that you should express your love by overdrawing your account. If you can implement the ‘Celebrate and Slap’ protocol this Valentines Day, you’re bound to have a more fulfilling experience. Perhaps you could also invite a few of your single friends around for dinner too? Wouldn’t that be a selfless and inclusive act to show your people that your plutonic love knows no bounds? Absolutely it would.

Maybe you are that single friend that doesn’t have a Valentine this year?

For too many people, this is perceived as being an absolute disaster. “Nobody loves me, I am disgusting and repulsive, I’ll never find the one, I am destined to die alone and miserable…”. Hmmm. It’s no secret that having love and happiness thrown in your face when you’re feeling a bit vulnerable can certainly highlight one’s insecurities. But it is important to remember that we’re all insecure, and feelings of negativity are perfectly normal too. It is how we respond to these emotions and insecurities that will define the course of our future happiness. So don’t dwell on your shortcomings, remind yourself of all that you have to be grateful for. Today is not the day to let your fearful-self take you on a rollercoaster ride of swiping right and sending bulk messages to every person you’ve ever been romantically involved with. You CAN be stronger than that.

“But if I don’t find someone now, I’ll be lonely forever!”.

Being happy alone is an art. It’s okay to want to be in a relationship, but if you allow it to dictate your every move, you’ll forget about what makes you special, and so will everyone else. It takes strength and determination to focus on our own personal development, but when we do, when we truly commit ourselves to the idea, our happiness can soar. Our goals become far more realistic, our passion is noticeable to others, and, ultimately, we become more attractive in the eyes of potential love interests. But perhaps that is now a secondary concern for you, and reaching other life goals has now become equally as important…

In the coming weeks…

We will be discussing the art of being happy alone in greater length, so be sure to subscribe to post updates so that you too can become a desirable candidate for Valentines Day celebrations in 2019 😉 (if thats what you want, of course). As always, thank-you for reading, and we’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section below.