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Question 22 found at the bottom of this page
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One way to become non-defensive is to have a wide variety of options. Some of your filters, such as inner rules, may limit today’s options and need some updating. The more flexibility you can give your rules, the more options you can have.
When you work with the questions for flexing your rules, be aware of any rule you have that suggests that being able to flex rules means you must flex them. You may find another rule that says, “If I can do it, I must do it,” or “I have to be consistent.” If you come across rules like these, write them down, and question them in a similar manner as is shown with these ten rules selected from the list of fifty inner rules discussed in Section 19.
These are samples of questions you can use. As you get started, you may find other questions more personal to you, ones that lead to areas you may have been hiding behind a facade. If a question is uncomfortable to answer, that’s a hint there may be more. If no answer comes, set the question aside and come back to it later.
You may want to select one of your own rules that you would like to make more flexible from the list in Section 19. After asking yourself questions to help flex this rule, experiment with desxcribing how you now use this rule and what happens. Then describe what would be happening when it becomes more flexible. Think of how you can practice making changes where you take little risks.
If you come across an uncomfortable feeling in this process, try giving yourself permission to go into that feeling to discover what it is saying to you. Simply listen to it, and let it speak to you. If nothing happens at first, leave your listening attention open and wait for some hunch to come to you. By accepting your inner rules, messages, and energies, you’ll gradually find a wealth of inner information and intuition available to you.
Circle three to five words in each group that best describe you during a conflict or pressure situation.
|1. I feel||2. I do Making decisions||3. I do (Outward) Dealing with others|
A need to justify
Lose my cool
Eat, drink water
Say silly things
Talk too much
Talk without thinking
Postpone the situation
Put foot in mouth
Chew on pencil
Become tense in the stomach
Prove my point
Evaluate and choose
Fire back a wisecrack
Give ‘em the finger
Try to get off the spot
Retreat and regroup
Kill ‘em with data
Write the name of a person and a brief description of a situation in which you did a “poor” job of handling the conflict.
When I’m off the defensive, I become
|-Freer from distress|
-Able to see other’s point
-Able to see other realities from different angles
-Able to use my imagination more
-Less fearful, more confident
-Able to feel fun in the challenge
-Creative-- willing to experiment
-Able to work faster, things click
-Intense with more concentration
-Able to tune out irritations and annoyances
|-More outgoing; my energy flows out and wraps around others|
-In control of the situation, not the situation in control of me
-Sure I can do most anything I make up my mind to do
-Excited with a sense of inner peacefulness
-More able to work with others, not for or against them
-Filled with a deep sense of joy
-More open; unafraid of new ideas
-More able to make positive statements about myself, not what I think others want to hear
-Freer with my sense of humor
-Able to listen without critiquing
-More sensitive and responsive to underlying fears and concerns in others, not needing to criticize their behaviors that irritate me, able to work with real issue
Write the name of a person and a brief description of a situation in which you did a “good” job of handling the conflict.
Ways to Flex Your Rules
| I have to||Questions to ask yourself (and others you think of)|
|Be in control of the situation||What for? Can I allow someone else to control part of it? Who? Can I share control? If I lose control, what is the worst that might happen? Does this situation matter this much to me?|
|Be loyal||To Whom? At what cost or gain to myself, if any? What for? Is it reasonably well returned? Would it be disloyal to act in my own interest if I choose to be? Would I be punished for that? Is there a way to be loyal to others and myself at the same time?|
|Keep peace at any price||Does this kind of peace come at a cost to me but a gain for others? Am I really willing to pay any price for it? Does this mean I have to go along with whatever anyone says? What if I question that? What might happen if I stir up a little trouble? Can I try rocking the boat somewhere safe?|
|Stick to my principles, ethics||Is this a rigid stand that I take at all times? Do I ever call opinions principles when I’m afraid of revealing something? Do I use these as weapons sometimes? Do they help me get centered under pressure? Can any be bent a little if the issue is relatively minor? Can I not state them, still hold them, and feel I’ve not compromised myself?|
|Come out on top, win||Every time? What for? Is it always worth the effort? When would it be okay to come out on the bottom? How would that feel? What if the situation calls for joint effort? Can I set aside winning?|
|Do it by myself||Do I think the only way to get it done right is to do it myself? Who could help me or do it instead? What would happen if I were less independent or more interdependent? Who can I trust? Is it hard for me to ask for help? If so, what does that say to me? Am I trying to prove something?|
|Follow orders||All orders? Even those I don’t agree with? What about those I don’t understand? When can I make an exception? What if this rule conflicts with another one? How do I choose which to follow?|
|Finish it||When is this important and when not? What if usefulness or timeliness is past? When I don’t finish, what holds me back? Have I lost interest or am I procrastinating? What might happen if I do finish? Can I dispose of it and go on to other things?|
|Keep this job, not get fired||How important is this job to me right now? Can I arrange things so I could quit if I chose to? What would that take so I could put my job on the line? How can I increease income or reduce expenses?|
|Be liked, accepted||Do I like and accept everyone else? Would respect do just as well? How would I feel if I were rejected by someone I do like? Am I avoiding pain? Do I like myself most of the time? Could I like myself more? How?|
Keeping Your Cool Under Fire: Communicating Non-Defensively. Wells, Theodora. McGraw-Hill Book Company: New York, NY. 1980.
Personal Reflection Exercise #8
The preceding section contained information about Starting to Apply Non-Defensive Attitudes to Yourself. Write three case study examples regarding how you might use the content of this section of the Manual in your practice.
QUESTION 22: Answer Booklet for this course
What limits options for some clients? To select and enter your answer go to Answer Booklet.
Forward to Section 23
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