It may not always seem that easy, but in fact all struggles of modern life can be resolved starting with yourself (and ending with the other person). This article offers you the tools to do so.
We deal with providers, the government and our employer or customers on a daily basis. If that does not go to our liking it can cause enormous frustration. If on top of that you feel like you’ve grown dependent on the other person or institution your frustration may start draining your energy, joy and resources.
In the words of philosopher and theologist Martin Buber (my source is his book ‘Ich und Du’): ”There are three principles in a man’s being and life, the principle of thought, the principle of speech, and the principle of action. The origin of all conflict between me and my fellow-men is that I do not say what I mean and I don’t do what I say.”
Read on to learn how to stay connected to what you need and to include the other person in a way that allows you to be freed of the need to be Right.
Start with the man or woman in the mirror
Last year I learnt that I was pregnant with my first child and so I enlisted in a small practice of midwives that my GP had referred me to. As the pregnancy progressed I researched different ways of giving birth as well as the impact of possible medical interventions and I started to feel a strong desire to go into this in detail with my midwife.
Unfortunately the 15 minutes appointments did not offer the opportunity of such a lengthy conversation. Even when I had reached the third and final term of my pregnancy she kept telling me that we’d have that conversation at a later point in time.
But when exactly, I thought, once I’m in labour and can’t utter another sensible word?
I tried in vain to let go of my desire. In fact the opposite was true and as time passed I felt more and more compelled to learn my midwife’s point of view on my choice and get a grip on the possible outcome. When I decided to hire a doula to help protect me against possible medical interventions that my midwife might want to initiate at the time of the delivery I saw the irony of it all. I mean, hire another care provider to protect me against my first care provider?
I asked myself what was bothering me so much? And what exactly did I need?
I realized that I instead of I clearly asking for what I needed I had mostly grumbled. It was high time to embrace my longing for an in depth conversation about a birth plan and communicate that.
To insist on opening up about what I needed in a efficiency oriented practice was not something I looked forward to. But then again my baby was on the way, I could not risk regretting the way in which the delivery developed when it was all over. I had to speak up now!
Include the other person
As a client I am also a person and as such I feel things, I want things, I have thoughts and doubts. The same goes for the (care) provider.
The relationship can cause frustration but it is also the key to resolving any type of frustration.
So together with my husband I worked up the courage to ask for a special appointment at the clinic to address my needs. What followed was a honest and very valuable conversation with the midwife who had been the source of my frustration for quite some time now.
For the first time I clearly formulated what I needed and she clearly responded both on an emotional as well as a practical level saying that she sympathized with my need but at the same time explaining that the fee they earned per client from the insurance companies was not sufficient to have these conversations with every expecting mother.
These clear cut answers refueled the initial energy between us. Together we concluded that I had a choice: I could chose to accept the limitations of the choices this clinic has made within the regular system or I could turn towards a holistic midwife who would offer me all the time and guidance I needed and pay for that service.
This was exactly what I needed: options based on my interests that I could choose from.
I could finally let go of my anxiety.
This is how you can free yourself
Are you also feeling frustrated and dependent?
Wait no longer to detect and communicatie the underlying need that is not being met.
This is how to free yourself as well as the other person or institution:
Go ‘to the balkony’ to see clearly what it is that you need.
By allowing yourself that time and space you will lessen the anxiety you feel.
Find a time to speak to the other person that is conveniënt for you both.
Start from the relationship keeping in mind that he or she is a human just like you.
Do not cover up the real issue.
Bus use tact and diligence as you speak.
Show him or her what your underlying interests are and seek to understand the other’s interests.
It will lead to understanding on both ends.
You will see that a solution and if not, at least and understanding, will be reached.
When my daughter was born (in a way that was close to my heart) my husband and I received many cards congratulating us with the happy event. Amoung the cards I decided to keep was a beautiful card sent by the midwife I had left. Her sending that card proved something that I strongly believe in as a mediator and conflict coach: so called difficult conversations are at the heart of what’s really valuable in life.