De acuerdo por fuera. Hirviendo por dentro.

Dices: “No, mi amorcito, como tú prefieras.”
Piensas: “Blah, otra vez me voy a perder la película que quiero ver hace un mes.”

Dices: “OK, seré doctor.”
Piensas: “Aaaggghhh, pero quisiera ser profesor de física. Bueno, no soy quién para romper la tradición de familia…”

Dices: “Sí, claro que sí.”
Piensas: “¿Con él?!? ¡Ni loca!”

Nos pasa igual a hombres y mujeres: ¿cuántas veces dices algo que no sientes o accedes a lo que no quieres hacer, sólo por no “verte mal” o por miedo a entrar en una discusión?  Estas son algunas de las veces en que te desconectas de ti mismo para caer en complacencia. Luego resientes al otro porque le estás acompañando en algo que de verdad no querías. Es su culpa, por supuesto, por arrastrarte a este limbo. Y te las va a pagar, de una manera u otra.

Así se te pasan preciados momentos con seres queridos: complaciendo, evitando conflictos… engañándolos. Y peor aun, engañándote a ti mism@. Caes en acuerdos indeseados antes de entrar en negociación. Desperdicias tiempo, energía y confianza. Generas resentimiento y remordimiento. Después de todo, es más cómodo evitar fricción que elegir y declarar lo que quieres.

Si ves cómo esto afecta tu vida y la de otros, cuestiona cada palabra antes de formarla en tu boca. Elige tus pensamientos y acuerdos según lo que sí quieres, no por evitar fricción. Cuando te topes con una proposición que en realidad no va contigo, di cortésmente que no. Puedes ofrecer alternativas – sin aferrarte a que accedan. O sencillamente pueden esperar hasta otra situación que convenga a ambas partes. Será mejor para ti y para los demás, pues ninguno estará jugando el papel de “obligado”.

La solución tampoco es que nunca cedas, sino que encuentres un balance entre lo que quieres y lo que estás dispuesto a dejar ir a cambio de la compañía o aprobación de otros. Pregúntate qué es más importante para ti en cada caso: dejar ir lo que quieres a cambio de esa compañía o aprobación, o rehusar la propuesta a cambio de hacer lo que sí quieres.

Si aún así se te hace difícil ponerte de acuerdo con quienes te rodean, considera:
* si estás siendo muy intolerante,
* si te convendría cambiar tu miedo al rechazo o a confrontaciones por aprender a negociar, y/o
* si debes cambiar de entorno y adoptar círculos sociales nuevos.

Observa tus palabras y tu proceso de decisión durante los próximos días, y nota si hay diferencias en tus relaciones y en tu estado interno. Lo más probable es que sentirás más poder sobre tí mism@ y tus situaciones.

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During an argument: A look at Acceptance vs. Understanding

“What you did isn’t right.”
“Well, I don’t see how you just don’t get it.”
“I’m tired of you doing this every time…”
“And I can’t stand you complaining about it…”

Oh, boy.

We’ve witnessed this many times: two mouths trying to push a point of view on deaf ears. It happens at work, at home, in traffic. While each tries to make their best effort to be understood, nothing gets through. Why?  Because both are paying more attention to proving they’re right than to arriving at a solution. But usually a solution doesn’t appear until each has understood the other’s point of view. In most cases it is then – and only then – that we accept whatever they’ve done and thus get closer to closing the issue. But if the ideal outcome of any argument is to reach a resolution that satisfies everyone involved, why is it such a struggle sometimes?  Here’s an important distinction:

Understanding is a result of intellectual integration, and often not really attainable until all the facts are laid out in a way that “makes sense” and pierces through our mental filters or limitations. It happens in the mind and is virtually automatic once all the necessary pieces fit. It’s not as much an effect of conscious will as it is mechanics of the mind. And contrary to common belief, understanding by itself does not actually dissipate an argument.

An overlooked step on the road to resolution is acceptance. It happens in spirit, from our True Self, beyond the mind. It is a choice. It needs no information, explanation, nor justification. One either chooses to accept, or not to, whether consciously or by default. We either accept and carry on with life, or continue to offer (internally or externally) justifications for being upset about what happened. It’s easier said than done, but it’s also as simple as that. We expect the other to understand and accept “the right point of view” – our own – and at times to even offer an apology for their “wrongdoing”. But all the while we are not willing to understand and accept them!  And we know where that leads.

We usually consider the two of these concepts to be just one, but knowing that they are separate gives us much more power. While we normally seek to make the other understand, what we really want is to end the conflict. Choosing to accept is what actually does the job, whether either gets to understand the other or not. Understanding is not a prerequisite for acceptance. Conscious acceptance makes the argument much lighter, saves everyone precious time and energy, and provides all those involved a safe platform on which to discuss their differences openly. It gets us more friends and pleasant experiences.

And here’s a cool tip: we can begin by accepting ourselves. Often we call ourselves stuff that we wouldn’t let anyone else even stammer under their breath. We can instead accept what we’ve done, realize that one way or another we got ourselves into the situation, and learn something new for next time rather than beat ourselves up for it.

“OK, so I did that. Maybe it really was stupid. But now I accept what I did and move on, having learned ______.”

Life gets lighter almost immediately. Again, it’s not necessarily easy, but it’s simple. The more we practice this the better we get at it, and the more automatic it becomes.

And, have you noticed?  By completely accepting someone’s behavior (including our own) as the best thing they could have done based on their view of the situation at that particular time, we are granting them (and ourselves) the freedom to be, which overlaps with one of the most freeing forces in the universe for those who practice it: forgiveness.
Acceptance of another or oneself is a form of forgiveness.

So keep this in mind whenever you find yourself in an argument. Remember that the main idea is to reach a solution, not to prove yourself right. Practice to seek to accept another – regardless of whether you understand – and observe what happens in your environment as well as inside you. You could be surprised at what can appear where a prolonged upset would have otherwise held the best of you.

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Thank you for reading. Please leave your thoughts below!
Carli | Your coach for a life that kicks ass

Curious about coaching with me? Email me here.

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How ’bout the How?

Standing here on spot “A” you have a dream: a great dream of a great life full of great people, abundance, and adventure. But that dream is not here; it’s over there, on spot “B”. In fact, it’s waaay over there. So far away that it feels impossible to close the gap between you. So you bury it under layers of excuses that you call reasons and forget that you ever had it. Then you get absorbed in all kinds of mindless motions that you never would have, had you listened to it. And you get drained all that time, justifying that life gets in the way or that you actually find the video of a dog licking peanut butter off its nose rather enlightening.

I’m sure this rings a bell.
But why do we all keep doing this?
What is that obstacle that keeps us from dreaming bigger?

You could say it’s the unstable economy. But you know it’s not. Neither is it a lack of investment capital, nor too many things to do in the craze of contemporary society. And, I hate to point out, it ain’t the bloated ego of your overpaid, underachieving, narcissistic boss, either.

This obstacle is something that virtually ALL of us stumble upon more often than we’d be willing to admit – even if we knew we were doing it. Perhaps you’ll recognize it:

We don’t dream bigger because when we get a glimpse of a life that seems better than what we have right now, we don’t have a clue as to HOW we can get “there”.
And we shut it down.

We imagine a better job, more free time, a fatter wallet, a slimmer bottom, a joyous relationship. We like what we see. It feels good to swim in that fantasy. Then we start to wonder what it would take to make these real – how to get to them. And, just in time for conflict, our analytical knights gallop in ahead of us, swords drawn for our protection, warning us against failure, frustration, and how HARD it’s gonna be to slay that dreamy dragon. And we usually take their advice!  We may even not feel worthy of a better life. “Yeah, as if…”  So we put the thing away, because it feels better to daydream of putting some a-hole in their place or check the latest memes on Facebook than to pursue something we have no clue how to get. Even though we’d love to.

We lie to ourselves.
“It’s not for me anyway.”
“I’m happy where I am. (Right?)

But there’s always the “wouldn’t that be nice?” that keeps tugging at the sleeve of our souls, wanting to be heard; a real desire that, although mislaid under layers of comfort, is too alive to remain buried. It wants to become.

But then, if it’s something that I’d love to have but can’t even start to do anything about because I don’t know how to get it, HOW do I deal with the freakin’ “how”?!?
The answer Continue reading

Here’s a gift from the Future. It’s your Present.

Wait… isn’t it the other way around?  Isn’t it: past, then present, then future?  Doesn’t the present come from the past?  Isn’t the future what comes from the present?  Isn’t this backwards?

Here’s my take:

From a linear point of view, it’s stupid clear: the past came first. You have the memory of reading that last sentence. It happened recently, and, indeed, it already happened. That’s the past. It happened first.

Then comes the present, the now, the actual moment during which you are reading this very word and which dissolves into, yes, the past, as soon as your attention passes every fragment of every letter. What was “now” a moment ago is (now) gone, cataloged under what we call memory, and not “here” or “now” anymore. And, pardoning the redundancy, this happens after what came first – the past. So, the present comes after the past.

Then comes the third main concept we use to chop up time, the future. It hasn’t happened yet, so therefore it must happen after both the past and present.

It makes sense.

But there’s a catch. Time is only linear from a certain, if rudimentary, perception of it. It tends to be more cyclical in the way we’ve gotten used to living it, like the wheel of a hamster that can spend its whole life running and not go anywhere. The mind is notorious for recreating what is familiar to it. You made a decision at some point in time that you’re too short, mommy doesn’t love you, and work is hard to find. You also came to believe that spaghetti tastes great, your city is the coolest place on earth, and your favorite color is orange. When your mind is presented with a situation that has to do with any of these programmed bits, it will choose and find evidence according to what it’s used to, further reaffirming what you already find familiar and “true”.

So, in a way, your present actually came from Continue reading