It’s on your mind. You want it. It would feel reeaaallllyyyy good if you could have it. So, you ask for what you want – all of it. A collaboration marked by balance and openness ensues. An end point different than the original request is peacefully reached, yet still totally desired by both parties. Sometimes it works that way… truly working for all folks involved. You both say a powerful “yes” without reservation to the collaborated agreement. There is a gratitude felt by both people. A need (perhaps a passionate one) has been met and the joyous chemical dopamine washes over everyone’s brain. Wonderful!
However, sometimes it doesn’t result in this way, and you hear the “no” that drops your heartbeat and eyebrows, perhaps a little, perhaps a lot.
- “It’s my right!”
- “Bullshit democracy!”
- “I have a right to be taken seriously!”
- “My thoughts, ideas, opinions need to be heard and considered!”
- “How come I make a request and you get to refuse it? That’s not fair!”
- “It’s not right that we are not coming to an understanding and now I have to behave in a way that I don’t want to!”
Quickly, your mind turns to all the reasons why getting what you want is great and wonderful, and even necessary. And, not getting what you want is wrong. In that moment begins a debate… the monkey mind working on “me vs. you/them.”
This combative stance, at its core, is the basis of all war.
Repeat this Buddhist proverb a time or two:
“Nearly all my pain results from getting what I don’t want, and not getting what I do want.”
And step away from fear.
Choose to Be Powerful!
1. Ask for 100% of what you want, 100% of the time
2. Be prepared to hear ‘No!’
3. Collaborate on the difference
Boundaries / Consensus / Collaboration
Your Needs + Interpersonal/Communal Needs = 100%
It is important to remember that boundaries are another word for existing interpersonal agreements and processes. The idea that arriving at immediate consensus/collaboration is likely to result in dissatisfaction, as does the idea that responsibility for reaching a collaborative end rests more with one person than another. Collaborate, don’t compromise. Collaboration is where both parties arrive at a place of peace and completeness. Compromise holds less, and sometimes much less, for one or the other.
- “Compromise is where each person shares 50% of the resentment.”
- “Compromise is where everyone walks away pissed (or unsatisfied).”
Consensus principles (me in relationships)
Willingness to hear ‘No’
Openness beyond an existing end
Creativity / Flexibility
Rarely about a simple Yes or No
No approach – a tale in two parts
• Not ask in the first place.
• Not receiving, or not receiving what you want, and stewing/bitching/moaning. No re-approach.
No Fairytale Ending
- “Ahhhhh . . . life would be so much better, and then I’d be better, and a better me is better for everyone!”
- “Now, if s/he/they could see that, we’ll all be happy and satisfied.”
- When the “Positive Intentions” of asking for one’s 100% are not held in head and heart, a collaborative consensus may not be reached. Such a scene repeats itself on every level – from the world stage, to two people interacting.
The ghostly “Friends” pictured with Calvin above, and their relations like Resentment and Envy and Despair, are called into play. These playmates are preferred, usually in an effort to win the long game of winner take all (sometimes settling for most). Below are some general exemplars.
- Either person enters the conversation with an agenda that is not open to real consideration.
- Either person may make a compromise. The requestee may give in to the requestor, or vice versa.
- A collaboration is reached, and then later one person reconsiders, and doesn’t follow up with that either by needs shifting or re-opening the conversation.
The “Positive Intentions” are partially or all not in effect. The person is unbalanced; they come with an agenda and a strategy. Very often, there is a ‘hostage situation’ involved, with the ‘hostage’ being who/what will get hurt should the demands not be met. “Well, if I don’t get what I want, then this will happen!” (to you/me/us/them/it/etc.)
A dangerous pitfall is building a case around why you are right and the other is wrong, garnering witnesses and supporters who will back up your claim that what happened was wrong and bad. To be extreme, even when 1 million people may agree an action was hostile, the result remains an enemy image that creates separation.
Review NVC requests. Is their/your request coming first from the heart or first from pain? If one person suspects the other(s) of not being in their power, seek a connection, safety, and request thoughts/feelings. For example, a “critical” response to an action/words is offered by another(s), and the receiver of that critical response needs time to process that before being balanced and being able to respond. A strong path for moving forward is for the receiver to remove the Jackal ears and eyes around what someone has said/done to you. By doing so, the words/actions are seen in service of a need, and the best behavior the other was currently capable of, so it is not seen as a hostile act.