What do we do when we have two choices and neither one gives us what we think we want? Here is a little tip. Most of us will STAY. We will stay, and say we have to, we hate it, it’s ‘killing’ us or we are doing it for someone/something else. Some of us will wait until we explode, cause a scene and leave. Some of us will stay and hate ‘it/them’ until the day we walk out the door. Very few of us will develop a plan. Why is that?
The Fighter: The fighter will speak up. They will attempt to change what they don’t like to make it ok for them to stay. They can have a positive impact for change. They can also become negative. They may be unable to let go when it is clear the other party is not open to change. Why do they continue to fight? There are many reasons. It may be they are afraid to let go. Their brain processes ‘let go’ as ‘I failed’. It may be if they fight for what they want, the other party to change, then they don’t have to face what they need to change. What they need to change is their perception. They are deeply afraid of alienation and exile..
That is exactly what they produce because they become so ‘noisy’ people start to ignore them and tune them out.
The Flight Risk: They will avoid. They will attempt to duck, dodge, deflect and defer. They may also want a change but instead say things like “can’t we all just get along” or “can’t everyone be happy”. They are great at not sweating the small stuff. They can help diffuse situations and turn mountains into mole hills. They can also defer intimacy and cause riots when their avoidance is so severe people around them become desperate. They may do this because they are afraid. They are afraid to show they care. If they show they care then they reveal themselves which in their mind is “I am weak”. They fear others will use their ‘weaknesses’ against them. They only want to take up causes they know they can win.
They are deeply afraid of loss and that is exactly what they attract; deep loss, regret, guilt and shame.
Some example Dilemmas:
I hate this job but with this economy I can’t afford to quit.
I’m unhappy in my marriage but the kids need us.
I can’t afford to keep my house. If I sell it I loose everything.
These are real life ‘stories’ we all have variations on. Most of us will stay. The reason we stay is simple; fear. We are more afraid of what we don’t know will happen than we are of staying and suffering what we do know. When we say “I hate you/it”. What we are really saying is we hate a part of ourself.
We stay so we can continue to blame someone else for our own unhappiness.
FIGURE “IT” OUT
1. Ask Good Questions: So a good question to start asking is what part of myself do I hate? Am I afraid to leave? Am I afraid to stay? Am I just so used to being unhappy that no matter what choice I make I will find a way to be unhappy? Did someone make a promise and I can’t forgive them for changing their mind. Did things just not work out how I expected but I am unwilling to accept the change? Did they lie and I believed the lie (more than once) so now I’m angry at myself? Do I wish I had made a different choice? Am I just sad because my heart is in something that I know is not really the best choice for me? Am I just guilty because I know that my EGO caused this but I’m too afraid to admit I was wrong or to ask for help? Does my intellect tell me I KNOW when actually history has proven I clearly do not have the tool set to tackle this problem and my pride keeps me from asking for help?
The root cause of all conflict is OUR RESISTANCE TO CHANGE. Out of FEAR we attempt to force change upon the other person or situation to feel safe so we can stay the same.
Change is scary. Change means we have to look at self. It means we step out of our comfort zone. We accuse the other person of not being happy so we can blame them. We deny the reality of the situation.
We just numbly keep doing what we are unhappily doing thinking somehow complaining about it will change something.
2. Own our choice: If we decide to stay for whatever reason (and we don’t need a reason) then choose to be happy. We all think we need reasons to stay. So we make up lists of excuses. It’s all Bull$%($! We stay simply because we want to stay. Sometimes it’s the worst decision for us. We know that. We just want to. So we do. Yes we may be afraid. Yes there may be some deep rooted twist. But we make a choice on some level.
3. Make a Plan: This is where many of us never go. What do we want and need to stay and be happy. We realize the other person/situation is not going to make us happy or give us what we want. And for today, we’ve decided to stay. So now what? As hard as it may be start to think about the attributes or benefits of the person that’s the solution.
Start to feel gratitude for what they have to offer.
The EGO WILL SCREAM AGAINST THIS. This no good, son-of-a-b*#$H screwed me and now I have to see their attributes. NO WAY. NO F&*ING WAY. NEVER.
Ok fine. We can continue being miserable. Logic says we can’t change them. Maybe we still think we can hurt them or get them back. Ok. Good luck with that. Surely we know this will not bring us peace but off we go.
For those of us who have beaten their head one too many times and are ready to end suffering, we can choose this work.
Please note that if we choose to grow we may find ourselves doing something we never expected. When we choose to grow, others may push us unconsciously into old behavior. Many times before major growth I’ve done something outrageous and embarrassing. I’ve lashed out. Broken things. Hit. It was my egos final attempt at fighting. My egos last ditch effort to manipulate a change. It is also a stress response. When things are so out of balance, something has to give. Sometimes when we ‘snap’ it’s just a wake up call. We can ignore the call, bury the message and it will happen again and again and again.
We can use a painful message as evidence of how hard life is or we can see it as a reminder to create the life we’ve always imagined.
Then what follows a blow up? Depression. Defeat. A sense of loss. Funny though because all we’ve really lost is another layer of our limiting EGO. It feels so real and yet it was all just an illusion we created, defended, avoided, fought for or ran from.
So stay and make a gratitude list. Start to see the person or situation as a blessing. What will happen is the situation will change before our eyes. We will start to see things differently but what has change is our perception.
We can do things with a child, a boss, a job, a marriage, a financial situation or a business dealing. The circumstances may not change. We may not get what we wanted. We may be sad. We may be disappointed. Once we accept this reality and CHOOSE to be happy then we can start to see with a new pair of glasses.
Our willingness to change our perception may change our view of them so much we decide we are happy right where we are.
We may also decide we are happy and want a job or a mate to share that with and this ‘one’ is not it. Then we can leave with love. We can leave because we are moving toward what we want, versus running away from what we don’t want.
When we run away from what we don’t want, we just run right back into ‘it’. We’ve all experienced this. It’s a new job or a new mate and yet we still feel the same way and have the same issues all over again.
When we leave a situation to move forward and do so with intent and love then our results are different. This may take time. We do not force the move. We may start by admitting it’s time to go. Then we look for a new job. We start to set things up in our home. This can be a slow process and may even take us years. The point is we have made a decision. We are no longer playing the victim. We are owning our life. We are moving forward.
We may need a lot of support. We may feel sad. We may be scared. Quite often though we think “What took me so long” and “this is the best thing that ever happened to me”. If we leave with blame and hate, chances are we will live with regret.
The intent behind our choice is what matters and that takes asking ourselves good questions, humility, honesty, a willingness to change and a plan.
That seems complex and yet it’s quite simple. It’s hard work. That is why most of us stay stuck for so long. It’s only deep pain that motivates many of us. Why is that? Some say because since the beginning it has always been and so it may always be. Others say as we grow it becomes easier. Go to the gym once, it hurts. Make a habit of the gym and it feels good. Get honest once and it hurts. Make a habit of honesty and it feels good.
Hard it may be. Happy I will choose.