You know that fundamental fear of rejection from your parents the basic, biological panic at not being believed… I’m experiencing that right now.
My friend said this to me on a call just 10 minutes ago while we were talking about a communication she was not willing to be with.
She’s dealing with a pretty challenging situation and I think she being quite amazing about it, but it’s not resolving. It looks like it’s the bureaucracy that’s the problem, but maybe it’s something she can transform herself?
So I asked her: “what if you could transform this situation, get everything you wanted and not really have to expend any energy actually achieving it?” I think it was the bit about not having to exhaust herself fighting the battle that got her over the line - imagine if all the fights (overt, covert or just perverted) that go on in your workplace (or your life) just disappeared. You can get the appeal!
So we went looking for the communication she was refusing to be with that was keeping the whole situation in place: the thing that she would notaccept. It’s wasn’t actually being said in words (it rarely is) but it’s always there; behind every sentence, every gesture, every late report, every silence, every ‘yes’ and every ‘no’. It’s the one thing that is guaranteed to send you crazy…
For my friend, it was the experience that, despite the (obvious to me) justice of her position, people weren’t believing her.
No-one actually said they didn’t believe her, that would not have been politic, but in her experience they didn’t and that was not ok.
Her reaction? A pretty rational one really: provide more evidence and make her case overwhelming.
The result: ever more obfuscation and a case that was starting to get personal and complicated (and drawing in ever-more resources). Despite the fact her case was getting more robust and stronger every day, resolution seemed to be getting further away.
When I’m in that place, that refusal, to get that communication [I don’t believe you], that’s when I’m most unable to hear what’s actually being said.
The more she tried to convince them, the more vehemently they resisted. The more they resist, the harder she fought… you can get the dynamic!
Under it all was that simple little thing. It’s so simple it’s almost hard to believe that getting it can shift everything – but it does.
Rather than coming from curiosity and gentleness, I gotta go smash that shit… because I just can’t be with that I won’t be believed...
On the phone, she got to actually experience what she had been trying so hard to avoid. However, as soon as she let herself be with it she realised there was nothing left to resist. If they didn’t believe her, they just didn’t.
Suddenly a whole range of communication opened up that was previously unavailable to her: from sweetly threatening to deeply curious and everything in between. What’s more, with nothing to defend she didn’t need to keep the armour on and could relax.
All I actually have to do is pick up the phone or walk into the meeting and be in the conversation, there’s actually nothing I can’t hear and nothing I can’t say… I’m free.
Does that mean she doesn’t need to create strategies, plans, build alliances and create momentum for her goals? Of course not, that’s life. Does it mean she doesn’t have to be permanently prepared for battle and that maybe she can start to unwind and resolve the drama that was building up around her? Yup.