Tuesday, November 17, 2009
It Can Be a Matter of Conscious Choice
It can be, because it doesn’t seem like it is all the time. Sometimes it feels like it is not up to us. What am I talking about? I am talking about conscious choice. I’ve written about Charlie, our little dog in the past. He is a little black pug who is so not an alpha dog. Charlie would never have survived in his pack, he would have been the first to have been consumed by the alpha pack leader. He would have been a hindrance to the pack because he would wander off in the woods if he thought he saw a pretty leaf he could chase. He would slow them down. Charlie has a friend he plays with every day, another pug who is female and full of life and energy. She is the one who determines how many circles they run, which direction they go, and who gets to get on top! Charlie doesn’t mind being led. I don’t think Charlie understands how he shows up in life. He just is. His playing with his friend reminds me of how we as humans interact with each other. I wonder how many are truly consciously aware of how we show up, furthermore, if we choose to be or do we?
Recently, I met someone who was very demanding. He was not interested in asking if it was convenient for me, or if I was even interested in what he was talking about. I soon realized that if I continue being nice and make it convenient for him, I would be very unhappy. So, I became more demanding too and explained how I wanted it to be. I didn’t hear back from him again. Making the conscious choice to show up assertive may cost you a friendship, but if you have to let someone rule over you to be their friend, that may not be a friendship at all. On the other hand, you may consciously choose to allow the other person to make certain decisions if those are important to them and not to you. For example, I have a good friend who makes all of our lunch decisions (where to meet and when). I am ok with that, I don’t care where we go, so I let her take charge of that. However, if the place she suggests is inconvenient or I’d rather go somewhere else, I will speak up. I am also certain that she doesn’t mind making all of those decisions. I have a choice and I am aware of the dynamics of our relationship.
The same holds true in our most intimate relationships. If you feel like you are the one who makes all the decisions because your partner won’t, you have to consciously decide if this is the role you want to play. I hear so many complaints from women who feel like they do all the “work” in the relationship. Yet, I never hear if they actually have allowed their partner to do some of the “work”. Yes, I use the word allow, because it is about allowing. When you want things done your way and at your speed, you are not interested in the work getting done, you are interested in having your way. That need to control translates as not allowing. So, our partners avoid helping out and let us do it ourselves because they know that whatever they do will not be good enough.
This past weekend, my husband and I went out to a concert and a babysitter took care of the kids. She was the perfect baby sitter. The kids and the dog were well taken care of. Once she left and I looked down, I noticed that there were leaves all over the floors and the rugs. I guess the kids and/or her must have taken the dog out and tracked the leaves all back into the house. I felt a tinge of annoyance, and then I remembered how glad I was to have had a night out alone with my husband and a great babysitter who didn’t mind staying over until well into midnight. Allowing is about accepting all that is, just the way that it is, even if it isn’t quite the way you’d like it to be. That night I consciously chose to be grateful and content. I consciously chose to put my attention on what truly mattered. I would have had nice clean floors if we hadn’t gone out that night, but I would have also missed out on a great date! We spend so much time on things that truly don’t matter to us and we have done it so many times that we don’t even notice it when we do it. All of the years of practice at giving our attention to things we don’t really care about has dulled our awareness and robbed us of recognizing our own personal choices. We give away our power in a hundred different ways each day and then we wonder why we aren’t happy. To make matters worse, we try to control our environment to bring a sense of order and/or balance back again and all that does is make it worse.
So, the next time you feel helpless, exhausted, or angry about a situation that involves someone else, ask yourself what really matters and how you have co-created the situation? Once you know and are clear on what really matters in that situation, then you can do or be as needed. However, you have to take responsibility for the consequences of your action or words. People may or may not be happy with an empowered version of you and that is the chance you are taking. Make the conscious choice and watch what happens…