Mar 20, 2009

Asks yourself... 'what have you done for me lately?'

Recently i asked myself this. The answer i got back suprised me. Not much.

I tend to give to others first and expect the same of them back. And although this seems an ideal way to live. It isn't. If you can't help yourself first... how can you help others? And expecting back what you give is leaving yourself emotionally wide open to disappointment & insecurity.

It seems to me that too many people live this way.... giving up responsibility for their own happiness to others, focusing only on what others have done for them and working on ways to get others to give more (and take less?). In short a power struggle where our egos are in control, feeding off and seeking constant attention.

If attention is a form of energy, as described in that fabulous book 'The Celestine Prophesy', and 'where attention goes energy flows' then it only stands to reason that any relationship between two people is a sharing of energy with two possible outcomes:

1) Interest/attention is given freely between both of you. You are getting back what you give, which feels great. Attention & energy flows equally both ways and you are in the 'honeymoon' period.

2) One person is giving more to the other, either freely or by manipulation. Arguments (trapped energy) & cold-fronts (withholding energy) can arise and lead to resentment & confrontation in relationships.

In James Redfield's book he goes on to describe 'control dramas', the strategies we use try to get more attention/energy when we are not receiving enough to fulfil our egos or insecurities.

There are 4 main 'control dramas':
  • Acting aloof/distant - the mystery is the driver here. holding back or withdrawing so control is yours. You are no longer giving and so the relationship dynamic shifts. Others end up giving more energy to you because they seek to draw you out.
  • Intimidation - anger/moodiness breeds negative energy. by intimidating the other person it is easy to draw them into a place of fear or confrontation. you actively demand their attention and give nothing back.
  • Interrogators - playing the critic or the nag makes others defensive. If you are hard-to-please it can drain others if they buy into it emotionally and try to live up to your expectations.
  • Poor me - by using guilt or looking for a sympathy vote. energy and attention is manipulated into being given to you willingly by those who are a 'soft touch'.
Of course other people can also use these strategies on us. Recently i've been pulled into a few 'dramas' with people who are close to me. As i'm still learning its easy to slip back into bad habits, though now if i do get sucked in it isn't very long before i become aware and change my behaviour. Gaining enough perspective to see it for what it is helps me take a step back emotionally. And of course leading by example is the best way to bring the other person to your level of emotional intelligence.

Other ways i've developed include....

Build up your own source of energy:
- give to yourself first
- appreciate everything
- focus on the positive
- see the possibilities
- choose your reality

Refuse to let others use a strategy to control you:
- give to yourself first
- understand their actions & why
- don't lay blame or buy into it emotionally
- don't take it personally or feel bad for your actions
- just let it go and move on
- lead by example and bring them up to your level

One thing I can't stress the importance of enough is 'giving to yourself first'. M, who has this ability to take me outside myself and see what i'm really being right now, put it like this.... in a business you pay yourself first, then you pay others and your bills. Energy is a form of currency. Remember to pay yourself first and you'll never be short.... ;)


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