Posts tagged with ‘personality’

04 aug

Drop the Case

RickHansonWho are you prosecuting?
The Practice
Drop the case.

Lately I’ve been thinking about a kind of “case” that’s been running in my mind about someone in my extended family. The case is a combination of feeling hurt and mistreated, critique of the other person, irritation with others who haven’t supported me, views about what should happen that hasn’t, and implicit taking-things-personally.

In other words, the usual mess.

It’s not that I have not been mistreated – actually, I have been – nor that my analysis of things is inaccurate (others agree that what I see does in fact exist). The problem is that my case is saturated with negative emotions like anger, biased toward my own viewpoint, and full of me-me-me. Every time I think of it I start getting worked up, adding to the bad effects of chronic stress. It creates awkwardness with others, since even though they support me, they’re naturally leery of getting sucked into my strong feelings or into my conflict with the other person. It makes me look bad, too cranked up about things in the past. And it primes me for overreactions when I see the person in question. Yes, I practice with this stuff arising in my mind and generally don’t act it out, but it’s still a burden.

I think my own experience of case-making – and its costs – are true in general. In couples in trouble, one or both people usually have a detailed Bill of Particulars against the other person. At larger scales, different social or political groups have scathing indictments of the other side.

How about you? Think of someone you feel wronged by: can you find case against that person in your mind? What’s it feel like to go into that case? What does it cost you? And others?

The key – often not easy – is to be open to your feelings (e.g., hurt, anger), to see the truth of things, and to take appropriate action . . . while not getting caught up in your case about it all.


Bring to awareness a case about someone – probably related to a grievance, resentment, or conflict. It could be from your present or your past, resolved or still grinding. Explore this case, including: the version of events in it, other beliefs and opinions, emotions, body sensations, and wants; notice how you see the other person, and yourself; notice what you want from others (sometimes their seeming failings are a related case). For a moment or two, in your mind or out loud, get into the case: really make it! Then notice what that’s like, to get revved up into your case.

Mentally or on paper, list some of the costs to you and others of making this particular case. Next, list the payoffs to you; on other words, what do you get out of making this case? For example, making a case typically makes us feel in the right, is energizing, and helps cover over softer vulnerable emotions like hurt or disappointment. Then ask yourself: are the payoffs worth the costs?

With this understanding, see if you can stay with the difficult feelings involved in the situation (the basis for the case) without slipping into a reproachful or righteous case about them. To do this, it could help to start by resourcing yourself by bringing to mind the felt sense of being cared about by others, and by opening to self-compassion. And try to hold those difficult feelings in a big space of awareness.

Open to a wider, more impersonal, big picture view of the situation – so it’s less about you and more about lots of swirling causes coming together in unfortunate ways. See if any kind of deeper insight about the other person, yourself, or the situation altogether comes to you.

Listen to your heart: are there any skillful actions to take? Including naming the truth of things, disengaging from tunnels with no cheese, or the action of there-is-nothing-that-can-be-done.

Watch how a case starts forming in your mind, trying to get its hooks into you. Then see if you can interrupt the process. Literally set down the case, like plopping down a heavy suitcase when you finally get home after a long trip. What a relief!

Enjoy the good feelings, the spaciousness of mind, the openness of heart, the inner freedom, and other rewards of dropping your case

* * *

Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a neuropsychologist and founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom. His work has been featured on the BBC, NPR, Consumer Reports Health, U.S. News and World Report, and Huffington Post, and he is the author of the best-selling Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom. He writes a weekly newsletter – Just One Thing – that suggests a simple practice each week that will bring you more joy, more fulfilling relationships, and more peace of mind and heart. If you wish, you can subscribe to Just One Thing here.

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Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on August 4th, 2011 in General, Relationships, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , ,

10 apr

Who Are You, Really?

JayForteI was watching an episode of CSI: Las Vegas and was suddenly struck by the theme song “Who Are You” by the band The Who. I don’t watch much TV but I can always find time for a new or rerun episode of this show. But until this moment, I have never been very attentive to the theme song. It got me thinking…

Who are you? Not your name or whose husband, wife, father, mother, son or daughter you are. Not your employee role, what town, state or country you live in, or what ethnic group you are from. I am looking for something deeper – more about what makes you really you.

Much of my work involves helping people rediscover their passion for work and life, and this starts with really knowing ourselves – who we are. To do this requires becoming proficient at listening to and watching ourselves – to notice how we feel, think, react and respond. This is the best mechanism to know ourselves.

We are each a unique bundle of DNA – manifested by our talents, passions, strengths, personalities and even communication styles; no two of us on the planet share the exact combination of attributes. This uniqueness is both our gift and our work. It is our gift because it allows us to invent a life that is just right for us. Our greatest happiness and impact happen when we play to what we have been given. To do this, we first must know ourselves.

And that brings us to our work. It would have been easier to have received an owner’s manual on the first day we arrived on the planet; a manual that listed our particular attributes – the things that make us unique. But the divine inspiration for us is smarter than that.

To access these gifts (because I guess nothing great is free) we have do our own work; no one can do this work for us. We learn about the gifts we received – the unique talents, strengths and passions that came bundled in our DNA – gradually over life. We have a lifetime to be introduced to our specific attributes. This allows us to learn and invent. The more we learn about what we are great at, what we love to do and what makes us feel successful, the more we invent the next things in our life. Learn and invent. This is part of the plan to help us define and own our lives.

Life becomes more authentic, more customized and happier the more we know who we are –what gifts we were given, how to use them and how to make make our greatest impact.

So to get good at listening, watching and connecting to yourself (knowing yourself), say each of the following then list five ways you notice it happening in you:

  1. I am good at (and list 5 things that come to you naturally).
  2. I am happiest when I am doing (list 5 things).
  3. I wish time would never end when I am doing (list 5 things).
  4. I am most proud of myself when I (list 5 things).
  5. My greatest impact is when I (list 5 things).

You can list more or less than 5; the goal is to get you to notice yourself because the best access to your specific gifts – those gifts that allow you to live the best life for you – is through self-awareness. And for more impact, look at yourself in the mirror as you do this.

So, you received amazing gifts – your talents, passions, strengths and personality. Most people become acquainted with only a small portion of all they received. They miss out on what makes them unique and great. They don’t know who they are. What a waste for them and for the world. Because when you play to your talents, strengths and passions, not only are you more authentic and happier, you also bring your best to the world. And we all know the world could use more of our best.

Commit the time to know yourself. Then build the best, most extraordinary and meaningful life based on the true you. This is your life; own it. And start by knowing who you really are.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, and the on-line resources, Stand Out and Get Hired, and The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual. He has just completed his new book, The End of Average; Know Yourself, Find Your Fit and Transform Your World; chapter downloads will soon be available on his website. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to live fired up! More information at

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jay Forte on April 10th, 2010 in Career, Family, General, Global/Social Change, New Directions, Personal Stories, Spirituality, Teens | 3 comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,

18 may

What a Week!

Well, thanks to all of you, my book is a bestseller both on Amazon (#87) and Barnes and Noble (#27). It’s still #1 in personality–yeah that made me smile too–and #42 in hot new releases for the week.

I did over a dozen radio shows and a TV appearance on Inside Edition for graduates on how to find a job in a no-job environment. It airs this week. They haven’t told me what day yet. Check back in for that or follow me on Twitter–@clickariane is my name over there. (My next blog post will be all the tips for graduates by the way. I will post it mid week.)

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Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on May 18th, 2009 in First30Days Book | 1 comment Read related posts in ,