Part 3 of learning to be direct…
How to get what you want from your life.
In Part 1 of this series I talked about one reason we find it hard to be direct with others. We think that being direct creates more conflict when in fact, by being in a non-judgemental way, it lowers the level of conflict by opening up the conversation. We also looked at how most of us didn’t grow up learning how to be direct in a useful manner. I offered a practice that can teach you the skill of being direct in a way that won’t escalate the conflict.
Lower conflict = we get more of what we want from life.
In Part 2 we tackled some of the inner voices that hold us back from being direct. These are voices that show up with all sorts of things to say about how dumb or bad or stupid we are and not one of them helps us get what we want from life.
If you haven’t read Part 1. Click Here and catch yourself up.
Did you also miss Part 2? Never fear, the link is Here!
LET GO OF YOUR PAST IN ORDER TO GET MORE OF WHAT YOU WANT IN YOUR LIFE… NOW!
Whittle away FEAR
So here we are at Part 3 and this time we’re talking about fear.
Yes my friends, FEAR with a capital F E A R.
Fear is another reason that we find ourselves avoiding being direct. Maybe in the past there were people who yelled at you when you asked for what you wanted or needed. Maybe you got told that it was “all your own shit”. Whatever the case, someone in your past snuck the seed of deception into your psyche and there it sits, festering away and keeping you locked in silence.
We’re here to bust you out of that prison! This might require some note-taking so grab a pen and paper and let’s get down to the practical stuff.
Now I know some of what I’m gonna say here you already know. Leave the eye-rolling to me and just play along til you feel like you really have this down cold.
Here are some key events that can create FEAR of being direct.
(Fearing Everything Amounts to Rejection)
- Someone close to you repeatedly told you that whatever you wanted was stupid or silly.
- Someone you cared about met your requests with statements like, “that’s your own shit, deal with it yourself”.
- A person in power quashed any efforts you made to create change in the system. (That could be in the workplace or in a family).
- Someone you respected didn’t know how to speak up and be direct and you picked up the habit from them.
- When you were young you were essentially told to “sit down and be quiet” even when you wanted something simple or small.
What all these have in common is that they are in our past. They are lessons we learned from being with others, who by the way were probably not comfortable speaking up for what they wanted directly either. They are things you learned when you were younger, less experienced than you are now and they are not applicable to your present reality.
Knowing your priorities is one way to connect with your core values and know yourself better.
So what do we do about this?
Go for simple first.
I’m all for simple. The simple method is to notice which of these feels truest to you. Note it, then wrap it up in some sparkly or festive wrapping paper and mentally put it off in it’s own little shed. Alternately I like imagining them being tossed on a huge bonfire, but hey! That’s just me. Once you have acknowledged the past, you can let it go. It might take a few times of noticing it and then setting it aside but I guarantee the more you do this, the less often it shows up. You get more of what you want in life when you do this consistently.
Notice what’s up.
Next, notice how whatever “lesson” you learned is showing up to keep you from being direct in the present. What’s the assumption you are making about how the other person will react? Do you have proof of this or are you basing it on that old lesson? Mentally run through the 4 steps we covered in Part 1 and see how it feels when you walk yourself through them out loud. whats; your own gut reaction to being asked? If it feels pretty good you can also grab a trusted friend or family member and run through it with them. Honing your skill by practicing with a friend is a great way to move past FEAR. Practice a few times with a few different requests and see which one gets you the best response from your practice partner. Make some notes, remember… you are still learning this stuff so it’s great to makes notes and write practices down until the whole process feels natural and simple to you.
Hone your skill!
You now get to take your newly honed skill of being direct, aka… ask for it straight-up to get more of what you want into your life. Take your time with it, it is a simple practice and it can still bring up a little racing of your heart rate as you wield your new superpower of being direct. be thoughtful of yourself in the process. Last but not least, keep in mind that just because it may feel a bit uncomfortable or awkward doesn’t mean you should avoid doing it. The more you practice being direct, the easier it gets!
AND….. if you missed PART 2 – finding ways to live HAPPIER, catch up here!