Friday, October 1, 2010
By Tambre Leighn
No matter what the details of a situation you are facing, it comes down to seeing that there are two sides to every coin. Looking at things from this viewpoint recently has allowed me to get very clear...in very short order. It reminds me I have a choice and that there is always another side to consider. In the end, I get to choose which view to take ~ and my goal is to choose the one that empowers me, educates me or inspires me.
We can look at rituals as an example. When you consciously choose an action as a way that helps you relax, reconnect, refresh and ground yourself it is a ritual. This is an anabolic, creative approach. If a ritual becomes an unconscious habit, you've gone into a destructive way of coping. A red flag that a ritual has become a habit is the difference between actively choosing it or experiencing it a HAVE to do or HAVE to have. One side of the coin is an event or action you create to help you center, relax or reconnect. The other side of the coin is when ritual becomes an unconscious habit. Something that is a 'have to' is an experience that will drain your energy.
Another angle on there always being two sides occurs when there is more than just you in a room. By taking into consideration the fact that there is your experience of a situation and there is the experience of the other person, you can recognize that sometimes everyone may not be on the same page. If someone is being short-tempered with you and you can't identify anything you may have done to provoke this, you can use two sides to recognize that it just may not be about you at all. You don't know what underlying situations the other person is facing in his or her life. It is best when we can use awareness to set boundaries and not have overlapping issues, but sometimes it occurs. Understanding this and the fact that two people are coming to the situation with different concerns may help you keep a good perspective and stay centered in the conversation.
Two sides also is a great touchstone tool to remind you to not just talk but also to listen. There are two sides to a conversation - not just your story and their story but what you say and what you hear. If each of you is focused on saying what you feel you need to say without taking time to listen to the other side, you're basically participating in competing monologues instead of true communication. You will enhance your communication skills and deepen your relationships when you apply the two sides approach in your interactions with others.
In the moments where two sides is about your interpretation or framing of events, you can either be "pounding the pavement" or "tripping the light, fantastic." The weather can be cloudy with some sun or sunny with a few clouds. There is no question on some days it takes more energy to choose the up side. And it's not about being pollyana. It is just the matter of choosing your response. Let's be real and recognize some situations like a chronic illness diagnosis, the loss of a job and other major life changing moments have times and days that are simply and honestly tough.
In those cases, there is still the option to succumb or choose to find a way to overcome it. Keeping your core values and your goals front and center can help you inspire yourself to deal with the tough stuff. Asking for support or help is another tool that can fuel you to make the most out of whatever you are facing.
So the next time a situation threatens to take you off course or deplete your energy, remember the visual of the two sided coin and ask yourself how you can choose the side that will serve you most.