Two Tools for Dealing
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Below.
A couple of things have really helped me over the past year Â or two.Â Theyâ€™ve Â been Â excellent Â for Â not Â getting sucked into the usual situations.
1. Â Â Â My Personal Obi-Wan usually gives me a unique twist on words and it really puts things in a different perspective. Â Telling me â€œDonâ€™t judgeâ€ was too much like a Sunday School lesson, but saying â€œStay Â Neutral,â€ well, I could do. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â So now in a lot of situations Â where I would have jumped in to help and â€œfix things,â€ I now stay neutral and observe. For those of us who struggle with code- pendency, this is a fabulous tool! Â It gives other people a chance Â to work things out on their own without relying on me as a crutch. Â It helps me pull back a little emotion- ally and not get caught up or as Â caught up in their is- sues. Â Not for all but for at least some of them, my not fixing Â things Â is Â forcing Â them Â to Â fix Â it Â themselves Â and theyâ€™re suddenly self-sufficient in an area they werenâ€™t be- fore and they feel good about it. Â It doesnâ€™t really feel like Iâ€™m less of an active participant in their lives, either, to be the observer, Â and thatâ€™s a surprise. Â The only iffy part of this is that I probably donâ€™t ask enough personal questions when I meet some new acquaintance, Â figuring that theyâ€™ll tell me what they want me to know, but some people take this as disinterest on my part when itâ€™s not.
2. A rocket scientist I worked with years ago used to get lots of people telling him what to do and how to do it. Â They were insistent that they knew better how to live his life than they did. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Some were just busybodies Â and some really wanted to help and thought they were. Â So he would say, â€œThank you for the feedbackâ€ or â€œThanks for that suggestionâ€ in a very polite way, no sarcasm (which I know was hard).Â Â Not thanks-and-Iâ€™ll-do-that or thanks- youâ€™re-right, but Â justÂ an acknowledgment Â of their Â concern, justified or not, thanking them for their interaction with him. Â Heâ€™d never do what they suggested. Â Ever. If he was interested Â in the suggestion, Â he had a Â different Â response, Â usually Â an Â excited Â discussion Â ensuing Â and Â him asking all kinds of questions. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â But by acknowledging Â a suggestion Â or comment with a polite thank-you, Â his critics always thoughtÂ he would Â take their suggestions Â and they usually shut up and went away. Â And he didnâ€™t spend his Â valuable Â time Â arguing Â with Â some Â idiot Â who Â didnâ€™t know his situation at all.