Friday, April 6, 2012

Instead of a bunny this Easter, try a Tiger instead!

A dear friend of mine, a clinical psychologist once told me a story about himself. Although he was a great listener and was a fount of wisdom, he had always found it difficult to assert himself. He confided this to a colleague who gave him the following advice: he told him that the next time he went out for a coffee, he was to ask the waiter to take it back as it wasn't the right temperature - even if it was. As he tells it, he found it so hard on the first few occasions, but after that her "got over it" and from then on it never troubled him about confronting those sorts of situations. After all, how many times have we drunk a cup of really bad coffee and never thought/dared to send it back?

I was reminded of this when reading a reflection by Patricia Raymond MD entitled "Embrace your Tiger". Pat is a Doc who is also a motivational speaker whose goal is to "resuscitate the joy in medicine" - which can be sadly missing in these technologically driven times. It's all about facing up to confrontation and finding out that you can be more of a tiger than you really thought you could. Here are some of Pat's suggestions:

  1. Sit down with your “oppo­nent” in a quiet space.
  1. Tell them what you perceive.
  1. List the facts that led to this conclusion.
  1. Hon­estly ask to be shown where you are wrong.
  1. Lis­ten.
Often we burden ourselves with the "feelings" of others and don't like to "upset them". What we need to remember is that everyone is entitled to their feelings, but we are not responsible for them! Most of us have enough trouble coping with our own feelings, so why add others to the list? Yes we can "press the buttons" on our nearest and dearest and "upset" them - just as they can do it to us - but in the end, it's their/my feelings that they/I need to listen to.

Our feelings are the "signposts" that help us to identify the path we should follow. But although we should always take our feelings into account, in the end we should be making conscious, informed decisions on how we should act and not rely on just feelings.

Taking the emotion out of confrontation makes it into a discussion where both sides are winners - and if someone gets "upset" that really isn't your problem!

So with Easter now here and change happening, as Pat suggests, it might be your time to let your Tiger out of the cage! Happy Easter.

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Mariodacatsmom said...

Good suggestion. I do have problems with letting the tiger out. I'm one of those who doesn't want to hurt any feelings.

Tanya Sharpe Horat said...

The suggestion is a good one, and of course, it is good to remember both ways: no one can make me feel something. My feelings are my responsibility, so I need to find healthy ways to process them. There is so much freedom in setting the ever-changing landscape of "feelings" in the context of truth and facts. --Thanks for the reminder on that