Once Upon a Time … How to Facilitate Change in OthersWritten by Susan Dunn, MA, Emotional Intelligence Coach & Consultant
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One of important things about myths and stories is that person brings to it his or her own experience. Most of fairytales, folklore and parables we’ve passed down through ages are dense with meaning we can’t quite put our finger on. It doesn’t matter; we still ‘get’ them. I’ve never heard someone say, “What does that mean?” after such a story. More typically they are lost in thought, off in their own world which has been deeply touched. Consider for instance fairytale of “The Poor Little Match Girl.” I’ve heard this interpreted as a feminist warning against inaction. The child is alone and freezing to death, huddled in a corner, with only matches to burn to keep herself warm.
Eventually she uses them all up and an angel arrives to take her off to heaven. She has frozen to death. The feminist interpretation is that it’s a warning against, I guess, staying at home barefoot and pregnant.
Whatever someone else’s interpretation, here’s how I took it as a child:
I compared myself to little girl in story. I knew I was well cared for, smart, strong and brave. I felt sorry for poor little match girl who must’ve been beautiful (as all fairytale children are beautiful), but had been left alone in world without resources she needed and I had. I wanted to help her and people like her and knew that I could and would.
Instead of thinking “why isn’t she doing something?” or “what could she have done?” or even “I would’ve done this and this,” I was thinking, “I’ll never be in that position myself, and I know how to help others who are.”
What some readers interpret as a dire warning against inaction, I took as inspiration – an affirmation of my resourcefulness, and a call to action. I was Big Sister, after all, accustomed to comforting and caring for my younger siblings. It was no big deal to me.
I also felt that since I (or some other helpful person) hadn’t been there to help her, how nice it was to know that when she died, she was carried off to heaven in loving arms of an angel. If not love and comfort in one plane, then love and comfort in another. What a warm, wonderful world. Yes, I was that kind of kid, and yes, I remember those reactions clearly, though they were many decades ago. We bring to story what we have to bring to it, and we take away with us what we need to take away with us.
If you are very clever, you can learn to construct stories to fit your needs in communication. They can be as short as a metaphor or a simile -- “You’re badgering me,” or “You act like there’s no tomorrow,” or “You were my knight in shining armor, darling,” or “Sorry, but I’m taking off red shoes.”
And when you so, use that special tone of voice, once that gets into right brain. Don’t know what it is? Let me teach you. But don’t mistake this for manipulation. It isn’t like hypnotism, either. You can’t control another person, nor is it nice to try, and this isn’t designed to do it. Rather, it pulls on what’s already there, and what person is inclined toward in first place, or it wouldn’t be happening.
Consider it more like saying something without barriers and obstacles your own left-brain puts out in your own path that fogs your communication. Communication is a two-way street. You can also use many myths and stories already out there. Classic myths have endured for a reason; they talk about human nature and challenges we have faced since time immemorial that transcend time, gender, age and culture. “Cinderella,” for instance, is very good for little girls who have mothers who make them do things they don’t want to. Several different cultures have Cinderella-type stories, because every little girl has a wicked stepmother, yes?
I, on other hand, had most of my conflicts with me dad, and my favorite fairytale was “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” You know, one where girls get locked up in their rooms every night by their FATHER, king, but sneak out to go dancing [wink wink] and where at end, handsome soldier chooses ELDEST SISTER to be his bride, not baby [wink wink]. APPLICATIONS
If you’re a coach, therapist, teacher, manager, or even a partner in a relationship, consider using myth, metaphor and magic to communicate. If you’ve been around block a few thousand times, you know that in-your-face doesn’t work. In fact, “You can talk till you’re blue in face …” Words – left-brain type words – don’t work. Try something different.
Studying The EQ Foundation Course© (see my website) can help you, and is taught from a right-brained standpoint.
One last thing before you leave. Take a look at this brain candy produced by The International Association of Intercultural Education: www.bigmyth.com . Then ponder it (right brain), don’t think about it (left brain).
©Susan Dunn, MA, Emotional Intelligence Coach & Consultant, http://www.susandunn.cc . Coaching, business programs, Internet courses, teleclasses and ebooks on EQ. I train and certify emotional intelligence coaches, and am the author of “The Magic of Myths,” an Internet course, and “Can You Read Nonverbal Communication,” http://www.webstrategies.cc/ebooklibrary.html . Mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org for FREE ezine; put “ezine” for SL.
Ways to Increase Your Personal Power through Emotional IntelligenceWritten by Susan Dunn, MA, Emotional Intelligence Coach & Consultant
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Once you know how you feel, and what you want, you have a good chance of getting it! This has nothing to do with manipulation, by way, nor is it heavy-handed power plays, forcing others to do what we want. Intimidating others with words, threats or body language is bullying. People do this who have an exaggerated opinion of their own rights vs. those of others. What’s confusing is that these tactics work … in short-term and temporarily. A demanding, intimidating person may be able to get what she wants once, or in limited circumstances or vis a vis other people with no Personal Power, but in long run, people will avoid, disrespect, or avoid her in future.
Feeling your Personal Power and behaving in an appropriately assertive manner allows other to respect you. It means stating your position with clarity and confidence. It relieves stress in your life because you cease tolerating behavior that’s offensive or that drains your energy. At same time, it increases your chances of getting what you want, because first you must ask. You might ask for more intimacy or more money, less work or less noise, or some acknowledgement and some appreciation.
In order to claim your Personal Power, you need to have self-respect. This is something you accomplish; it doesn’t just happen. It means learning to truly love and value yourself, albeit a work-in-progress. With Personal Power, you ARE, you don’t DO. If you demand respect from someone, you may get it – temporarily, reluctantly and with confusion (because other person senses you don’t respect yourself) and therefore they don’t know how to give it to you. On other hand, when you are clear about who you are and how you expect to be treated, it will happen.
Each time you fail to stand up for yourself, and treat yourself poorly, or let others do so, you will lose ground you’ve gained. Again, it’s a constant process. Eventually it becomes automatic and part of you, but it takes time, and you will backslide. Each time you do, process your feelings. How were you feeling beforehand? How did you feel afterward? Would you be willing to change your behavior so you don’t feel bad? (Yes!)
During learning process you have to be patient with yourself, and also mindful. You have to be able to catch yourself immediately minute you slip. If you entertain even thought of “I’m an idiot,” erase it. Replace it with something positive. With time, only positive thoughts will enter your self-talk, but only if you’re mindful about what you say to yourself.
Here are some of ways you can command respect:
·Knowing your values and having standards, and behaving in accord with them ·Your attitude ·How you treat yourself. If you’re willing to abuse yourself, others will join right in. ·Keeping good boundaries. Become committed to living your life with joy, assertiveness and productivity, and refuse to engage with people (even when family!) that can’t support this approach. ·Watch your posture, eye contact, walk, and how you hold your head and shoulders. ·Make your SELF known – have opinions, state them, take part in conversations, be present and fully engaged. ·Acknowledge compliments graciously. Say “thank you,” instead of, “Oh, it really wasn’t much.” ·Stop cross-thinking, i.e., did I say or do right thing? Learn to develop your intuition (an EQ competency), and to go with it and trust it. With practice, you’ll act naturally and spontaneously, and stop questioning yourself at every turn. Others will respond to this. ·Eliminate complaining and worrying. They accomplish nothing except to drag you down, and make others think less of you. ·Use solution-focused problem-solving, not emotion-focused problem-solving.
How to get started? Commit to a structured learning program. Take The EQ Foundation Course©. It’s available on Internet and will give you theory. Then work with a certified EQ Coach. You need time, practice and feedback to change social and emotional skills. You cannot JUST read about it. Then take action. Put into practice what you’re learning. With time, you can make great changes!
©Susan Dunn, MA, Emotional Intelligence Coach and Consultant, http://www.susandunn.cc . Offering coaching, business programs, Internet courses, teleclasses, ebooks, and EQ coach training and certification. Mailto:email@example.com for more information, or to sign up for FREE ezine. Put “ezine” for subject line.