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Are you aware of why you do things?
Being aware of our motivations, agendas and intentions is something that most of us would prefer not to know about. If we do delve into that world within us, we are far more comfortable putting a good spin on things, giving it a shiny surface than to feel, acknowledge, accept and own what is really going on.
There is a part of almost all of us that likes doing things for people because it makes us feel good. Is that wrong? Well, its not about being right or wrong but more about being totally honest with yourself.
Here is an excerpt from a session with a client.
B Have you let them figure it out or do you always give them a lift?
A What do you mean figure it out? They are always there, just waiting out the front, they just expect me to do it.
B Do they ask you?
A Well no, I offer, but what else am I supposed to do? They are just standing there and they obviously haven’t organised anything else or they wouldn't accept a lift from me, would they?
B So you offer them a lift each time you see them but you don’t really want to.
A Well, its not that I don’t want to, its just that I have to.
B Why do you have to?
A Because they are kids, how else are they going to get home?
B What I am saying to you is, you are offering them a lift because you are assuming they have no other way of getting home and the conditions you put on the lift are gratitude. Does that sound right?
A Well, its sounds a little harsh but I can see what you mean, although its just common manners to say thank you when someone does you a favour.
B Are you doing it to get thanks?
A Of course not but it would be nice to get.
B Why don’t you tell them?
A Well who does that? That would be rude, my daughter would be so embarrassed and would probably never talk to me for a week and after all its not that important.
B So, let me get this straight, you offer them a lift, you would like thanks, you don’t want to ask for it because you think it would be rude, your might upset your daughter and its not that important. If it is not that important, why is it so frustrating to you?
A It is so frustrating because I have better things to do than run around after a bunch of kids on a Friday night.
B Is that true?
A What do you mean is that true?
B Well what else would you do doing?
A I don’t know I have never thought about it, probably all the things the other parents are doing while I am out driving their kids around.
B Ok, so what is it you would like to be doing?
A I don’t know. I guess I am frustrated because, (long pause here) I have nothing else to do.
B Is that really true, do you have nothing else to do?
A Oh god, this is hard. Yes I have things to do but I don’t make them a priority because my kids come first.
B Have you thought about not driving your daughter every Friday night?
A I couldn't do that to her, she would be so angry.
B So what?
A You don’t know her when she gets angry, she makes it very uncomfortable for everyone, she gets really hateful and very loud. It's really not worth upsetting her about.
B So, she gets angry and by that behaviour she gets what she wants, or she makes you fearful of her anger and that’s enough not to want to upset or challenge her.
A (Silence). Wow, that’s a hard truth, is that what I have been doing? Wow, I can see that now. Oh god, this has been going on for ages. (holding her stomach) oh, oh. I can't believe she does that......oh, (long realisation) it's both of us. I let her do it. Oh my god, I play a part in it too. I let her do it. Oh dear.
B So what would happen if her anger didn’t win?
A I don’t know. I guess I might get to see what I want to do for a change.
B That’s right, you might even chose to take her and her friends, but wouldn't it be different it you chose to do it, rather than did it out of fear or manipulation?
A Yes, wow, yes it would but I might not even do it. If I didn't do it maybe one of the other parents might step up. Maybe it isn't always up to me, that’s just what ends up happening because of what has been happening.
We sat in silence while the pieces fell into place, the space opened and she could see the possibilities.
This was not the end of the conversation but enough to show you how being more open and honest with yourself can change your perceptions and understandings of your very own situation. This conversation went deeper and wider over time until she was able to practice radical forgiveness towards herself which changed her outlook completely. She was able to look at her unconscious beliefs on self worth and implement some personal boundaries as she now felt she was worth it.
She continues to deepen her ability to be present by letting go of her self created story.
It all starts with one sentence, one belief and the road to discovery goes from there.
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