In my coaching sessions, I help people resolve core unconscious patterns that have been running their lives outside of their conscious awareness for a long time. Resolving these patterns requires taking a good honest look at them.
For example, if someone has a core pattern of always getting “ripped off,” we aren’t going to do him much good by “buying in to the story.” It’s entirely possible to live one’s life never being a “victim,” so if we see a pattern like this, we need to look closely at the mechanics.
And I’ll let you know a little secret: the weak link for the “ripped off” person is usually at one of two levels, or both.
Either the person does not have financial integrity himself. Meaning, if they stole in the past, they may punish themselves in the present by having others steal from them. In which case, it is the guilt that must be resolved.
Or, more frequently, the person is not being conscious of making clear agreements with other people ahead of time. The person ends up in a “murky” situation, with undefined and unclear expectations, and usually neither person gets what they want. Then it is actually the “ego” part of the person that gets angry after the fact. Instead of taking responsibility for not making a clear agreement and defining clear expectations, the ego “blames” the other person or the situation for “ripping him off.” Which continues the cycle of giving his power away.
There is a much better feeling way to approach all of this, but it requires being really honest about how we are approaching situations. And those who are in the habit of “playing victim” may feel quite threatened when they see others taking this level of personal responsibility.
Allow me to illuminate this with some personal illustrations. For example, if I charge less for my coaching than I know I’m worth, and I end up feeling resentful because of the amount of time and energy I’m investing without enough return to get my bills paid, well, who do I look to in that situation?
Am I going to blame my clients for not paying me enough? No. If I agreed to that rate, I’m going to honor my agreement. Am I going to lash out at people who charge their clients $100,000 per year (yes, they exist) because I don’t feel congruent with charging that rate? No. I’m well aware that if I “judge” others for the amount of abundance they are able to generate, that I will not allow myself to have that level of abundance. So it certainly doesn’t serve me to judge them. I’m more interested in looking at their model, and inquiring whether it would work for me.
Many people do not understand my choice for celibacy. That’s okay. I understand that men who lack confidence may take it personally and may attack me out of their own insecurity. Is that going to change my mind? No. I look around and see a lot of women for whom having sex without commitment works for them, and I also see a lot of women who have sex without commitment and are miserable. I’m not swayed by either camp. I listen to my intuition.
I listen to my intuition and it poses this question: does a man who feels sexually powerful allow himself to be “outraged” by a woman’s sexual choices? Would a truly powerful man EVER lash out at a woman?
And the answer is “no.” By attacking, he reveals his weakness.
(To add a bit of humor to the mix by indulging in PUA “lingo”: he’s totally reactive. He may as well have just said to the entire world, “Hey guys, I just failed the ‘shit test,'” in about as spectacular a way as you can fail a “shit test.”)
I listen to my intuition, and what my intuition tells me is that the areas of my life that are peaceful and enjoyable are those where I have clear agreements. Meaning, I don’t invest unless and until I know that everyone involved in the situation will get what they want. Having casual sex would be a form of self-betrayal. I’ve learned my lessons about this, and I simply will not do it anymore. Period. No amount of “attack” from people who feel insecure about their own ability to have what they want is going to change my mind about this. The more someone attacks, the more you can know for certain that they feel guilty inside. They probably think themselves guilty of exactly the offense they are accusing somebody else of. They don’t really believe they deserve anything, so they hope you’ll be distracted from this reality by their focus on attacking something outside themselves.
And you may be distracted by their nonsense, if you haven’t created a stable center within yourself from which to make decisions without being manipulated by someone who is pushing your buttons.
A Course in Miracles puts it this way:
“In any situation in which you are uncertain, the first thing to consider, very simply, is ‘What do I want to come of this? What is it for?’ The clarification of the goal belongs at the beginning, for it is this which will determine the outcome. In the ego’s procedure this is reversed. The situation becomes the determiner of the outcome, which can be anything. The reason for this disorganized approach is evident. The ego does not know what it wants to come of the situation. It is aware of what it does not want, but only that. It has no positive goal at all.
“Without a clear-cut, positive goal, set at the outset, the situation just seems to happen, and makes no sense until it has already happened. Then you look back at it, and try to piece together what it must have meant. And you will be wrong. Not only is your judgment in the past, but you have no idea what should happen. No goal was set with which to bring the means in line. And now the only judgment left to make is whether or not the ego likes it; is it acceptable, or does it call for vengeance? The absence of a criterion for outcome, set in advance, makes understanding doubtful and evaluation impossible.
“The value of deciding in advance what you want to happen is simply that you will perceive the situation as a means to make it happen. You will therefore make every effort to overlook what interferes with the accomplishment of your objective, and concentrate on everything that helps you meet it.”
Some people find ACIM a little impenetrable, so let me paraphrase: you’re in a much more powerful position to get what you want in life if you define what you want at the beginning, instead of letting the same old unfortunate patterns “happen” to you.
And the only way you’re going to be able to stay centered and grounded enough to manifest that clear intention is if you are firmly centered in your own intuition and power (rather than oscillating in the wind at the behest of other people).
So the real question is: how are you going to create a stable center within yourself, a center that will keep you strong and grounded no matter what kind of “flak” may come at you from the outside world? How are you going to turn seeming “obstacles” into opportunities.
And to me, there are a few steps:
1. Take full personal responsibility. This does not mean “blame” yourself. And you may still take action in the outside world if someone else is acting in an irresponsible way. It certainly means communicating non-violently when you find yourself concerned about a situation. You may even take legal action. But you don’t ever play the “powerless” game. You are never powerless.
2. Attain clarity. To get what you want, you must know what you want.
3. Negotiate clear agreements. My own personal experience has made me realize that it’s not a good idea to go into any business or personal relationship without both people having clear expectations up front. I’ve learned that “compromise” serves nobody because it fosters resentment. Marshall Rosenberg teaches, “never give anyone the power to make you submit or rebel.” When people stay in negotiation until they are certain both people are satisfied, they have the stable ground for a stable relationship. For the most part, once an agreement is formed, it is my intention to honor it in support of peace. I see the value for both of us in honoring clear agreements. If something changes dramatically, we can renegotiate the agreement, so long as both people are happy with the renegotiation.
I have been amazed how frequently “tragedies” and “frauds,” when looked at with honesty, can really be boiled down to unclear agreements. If you don’t make your expectations clear, is it really the other person’s fault if the expectations are not met? Or would you be better off communicating clearly next time?
If you don’t say no to what you don’t want (in my case, casual sex or coaching rates that don’t support me financially), can you really expect that you will get what you do want?
It’s amazing how the most common sense approach in the world can be “sacrificed” for the sake of “drama” and “victim mentality.” But only in the short term. In the long term, truth will prevail. The ego is weak, and it cannot prevail against a strong center. Ultimately, everybody will see that attack and blame and “victim mentality” are just ways of keeping themselves stuck in poverty and unhappiness.
It’s funny how some people act as if my philosophy is “out there.” From my perspective, it’s the most common sense approach in the world. Negotiate and honor clear agreements in your life. Learn the communication skills to do this. Have enough confidence to say “no” to what you don’t want. And you’ll never again have to be a “victim.”
Or, you can take the “easy” road and get your emotions all stirred up by someone else’s guilty attacks. Just don’t expect it to get you the abundance, happiness, and peace that you desire. If you want to learn abundance and peace, learn it from people who have it. People who listen to rabble-rousers are giving their power away. Today is the day you decide who makes decisions for you … some external “authority” or the strong center within yourself?
I invite you to experiment with these two approaches, and compare the results. Ciao.
p.s. As you’ll see, this philosophy of creating clear agreements and expectations is reflected in my coaching policies at http://tapsmarter.com/coaching-beginners.