I’ve been writing lately about boundaries and how to say no to what you don’t want.
You might be wondering, how do I ask for what I do want if it seems to conflict with what someone else wants?
Collaboration makes you feel like a team, which builds connection over time.
What is collaboration?
Here’s a sneak peak into my online course. Here are the concepts, and we’ll put them into practice in an exercise.
1) If we can reach understanding of each other’s needs, we can co-create strategy to get them both met
When you look at the needs and values on this sheet, you can see: each one of these needs has many different actions that one can do to meet them.Let’s explore a simple example that I share in my online course.
Let’s say I’m angry because my partner didn’t do his chores. I could yell at him and we’d wind up fighting.
How effective would it be if I said, “What’s wrong with you that you didn’t clean the bathroom again!” He’ll feel controlled and mothered, and will probably get defensive and you’ll wind up arguing.
Or I could take a deep breath, look at what needs aren’t getting met in me, talk about my deeper needs in an inspiringly influential way; and also be curious about his needs.
So what do you guess my needs were? [I invite you to look at the sheet and guess]
My needs could be order, beauty, mutuality, partnership, integrity, or others.
Whichever one it is, I’m angry because I don’t feel those needs being met. Enrolling him in why these needs are important to me, and listening compassionately to what his needs are, allows us to find a solution that meets both of our needs.
What needs might he be meeting by NOT doing his chores? [I invite you to look at the sheet and guess]
Perhaps by not doing his chores, he experiences space, spontaneity, freedom, independence, or purpose, by prioritizing other things.
So do order, beauty and integrity conflict with spontaneity, space, or freedom? Not necessarily. Once we identify both of our needs, we can co-create a strategy to align all of them.
Strategies are the way we get our needs met. So maybe he doesn’t like doing chores. My strategy for getting those needs met is to have him do his chores.
But lets say we had a discussion and realized he doesn’t like cleaning but he can contribute some other way. Maybe he can pay for a cleaning person to do his half of the chores. Maybe he can contribute to me in some other way and I’ll want to clean, like giving me massages. So there are many different strategies for both of us to get our needs met, once we identify what they are. If you look at the needs on this list, you’ll see that they aren’t attached to the particular strategy of meeting them.
When we’re aware of our needs, then we have choice and freedom.
Are you getting the hang of this? So the idea is to have each side share their point of view, their feelings and their needs, and then co-create a solution together.
Now, let’s do an exercise so you can apply this to your life.
Take a sheet of paper out, and remember the last time you got upset about something that someone else did or didn’t do. Make it something mildly upsetting, not devastating; start small.
1) Take a moment to look at the list of feelings and identify one or 2 or 3 feelings that you were feeling when that incident happened.
2) Turn the handout over and identify one or a couple of needs that weren’t being met in that moment. If you come up with a whole list, just narrow it down to the top 2 or 3 just to work with this exercise.
3) Next, we’ll do our best to ask ourselves and guess: what do we think s/he was feeling when he or she did or didn’t do that thing that was upsetting you? What feelings were they experiencing? You don’t know, but with your empathy, you can guess.
4) Now turn the handout over and guess what needs they were meeting by doing or not doing that action?
The theory is that everything we’re doing is to meet some need, even if it’s an unskillful or unhealthy way of meeting it. So look at the sheet and guess one or a few of their needs.
Now that you have both of your feelings and needs written down, does that change the way you’re perceiving the incident? Does that allow you to get into their world a little bit, even if you’re just guessing their point of view? Just notice whatever shift is there.
Can you see the possibility that your needs are not necessarily in conflict? If you’re needing attention or affection, for example, and s/he’s needing space these needs seem to conflict on the surface. But there is a way to collaborate to get both, is there not?
So I invite you to look at your needs and what you guessed to be his/her needs, and brainstorm some win/win solutions of how you can both have both. For now, you’ll shift your perspective to imagine win/wins, instead of seeing your needs as conflicting.
I’d love to hear your questions and insights on the blog.
If you’d like help with putting this into practice, I invite you to experience a free 1 on 1 Relationship Breakthrough Session with me. We’ll uncover your challenges, create a vision for true love and partnership, and clarify the plan for you to get there. I’m honored to support you 🙂