Do you wish you had just a few skills to turn negative conversations you have with yourself and others into a solution-oriented problem solving direction, instead of a bitch session? The trick is in asking the right questions. Unconscious questions like "Why does this always happen to me?" often result in negative unconscious answers like "Because you're just not good enough." This kind of thinking can keep you in an endless cycle of chasing your own tail, often resulting in feelings of inadequacy.

Many people find themselves in the situation of being listeners to the suffering of others and often resort to giving advice. If you've ever done that, or had it done to you, you probably already know that free advice is rarely acted upon! The most empowering thing you can do for the person who is feeling defeated, even if it is yourself, is to listen empathetically and ask positive questions that will result in positive answers. For example: "Considering this has already happened or that it is outside of your control, how would you prefer to respond to this situation to insure that you don’t feel defeated?" Even if it's a cancer diagnosis, creative answers that involve being "pro-active" or "focused on quality of life" can replace prior conclusions that may have resulted in feelings of victimization.

Here are a few tips to help you step into "counselor" mode when you or someone you care about is feeling worried or disturbed about something.

1) Accept your life as a work in progress.
2) Focus on forgiving the past, not because the events were forgivable, but because resentment is so toxic to you.
3) Dwell on all you have to be grateful for. It will help you to trust your future.
4) Abandon the need for outside approval. Live a life that YOU approve.
5) Be compassionate with your emotions. It's okay to feel whatever you feel.
6) Value your own uniqueness so you can value the distinctiveness of those you have conflicts with.

Author's Bio: 

SUNNY MASSAD, PH.D., created and trademarked this peer counseling technique called UnTherapy®, which uses the Socratic method of asking questions, to help clients adjust their attitudes and behaviors. This system is specifically designed to be used as a goal setting and strategic planning method that gives the client a personal sense of empowerment and enhances self esteem. For more information go to: or