I have choices

I have so many choices.  I can choose to be sad or I can choose to be happy.  I can choose to be cross or angry.  I can choose to feel sorry for myself.  I can choose to be lonely or I can choose to love my own company.

I can choose to love or not.

All these choices are within me.  They aren’t ‘created’ by anyone else. They are created by me.  I can choose to create them when I am with someone else or I can choose not to.

I chose to love Alex. I chose to love him come what may. I chose to believe in him, to see in him things that I still believe he hasn’t chosen to see in himself.  He chose a different path.  So now I can either choose to go on loving him or I can choose to listen to my unconscious and ask it to heal me.  And by that I mean heal me totally so freeing me to make new choices as they arise.

This work was eloquently, caringly and determinedly started by Stephen.  His work with me allowed me to see the new possibilities in front of me.  This work continued over the last two weeks in the safe and supportive surroundings of the NLP course I attended.

The last eighteen months, from the moment I started to go to Life Coaching, right up to this weekend,  have been enlightening.  They have opened up possibilities, thoughts, ideas and emotions I didn’t know were there.  Things within me that I had no idea existed.

Yesterday afternoon at the end of the course, when we all breathed a collective sigh of relief at the end of the Assessment Day.  We all walked around saying goodbye to each other and sharing hugs and giggles – as happens so often at the end of a collective intense experience.  We remembered shared special moments when we encouraged and supported each other individually.

I was amazed and deeply touched at how many people said they’d miss my sunny outlook on life and my infectious laughter!

I learnt an amazing amount, not only about how to help others have more choice in their lives but how I can give myself more choice and how those choices can be long lasting.

The changes we can give ourselves don’t take long to create. They are within us.  All we need to learn is how to unlock the places  where they are.

And if none of this makes sense to you then just come round and see me!!  My charges will be very reasonable!!

Desired Outcomes

This came into my mind as I was driving to work this morning on my 70 mile commute!

In every conversation, email exchange, whatever we have an implicit Desired Outcome!  Mostly the outcome is not something we give much thought about.  After all asking a loved one what they’d like for dinner, or to go out shopping is a discussion where the person will either say Yes or No or a suggestion and the Desired Outcome is not going to have a huge emotional reaction or impact.

But when there is tension or a deeply important issue to be discussed then I think it’s worth thinking through what one’s Desired Outcome is before embarking on the process!

When my brother, H, suddenly announced that he felt that the 3 of us sharing my rental costs was no longer ‘fair’ his Desired Outcome was for me to agree.  When I didn’t he continued to stick to his Desired Outcome through thick and thin. So he bullied and pushed and pushed, dragging in my other brother for support.  Not for one moment throughout the exchange of numerous emails did he once consider or suggest a compromise.  I did but got no response.  So in the end I bowed out, giving him his Desired Outcome!

But has he really got the right Desired Outcome?  He has achieved his need for Control (by bullying).  But has he met his basic Human Needs at the highest level possible?

  1. Certainty
    Well he’s got Certainty – but perhaps at a rather low level as he’s achieved it by Control
  2. Uncertainty/Variety
    Not really.  There’s no variety in this unless he considers he has varied our Legal Agreement by his controlling tactics
  3. Love/Connection
    There was no love in any of this.  In fact an underlying theme throughout his emails was unless you do as I want I won’t give you love.  So it appears his love is conditional on me falling in with his Desired Outcome and control.  My other brother waded in with statements on Charity and Cordiality so not much love there either!
  4. Significance
    Well they both got Significance in that they can pat themselves on the back for making me agree.  But surely that’s Significance via Control and so achieved at rather a low level.
  5. Growth
    Did either of them experience Growth in this exchange, as in Growth within themselves.  Maybe they do feel good about themselves.  I can’t answer for them.  In fact as far as I can see the only person who experienced real Growth in this exchange was me as I put Love above the Agreement and bowed out because Love is my top Value and Need
  6. Contribution
    Have either of them contributed to enhancing our feelings for each other??  Or, more to the point My feelings for Them!

So what have I learnt and gained?  From my point of view all I now know is that for both of them their Love is, at the moment, conditional on me falling in with them, their points of view and their wishes. Actually this has been quite liberating as I now know their ground rules.  For years I’ve sought H’s approval!  Now I don’t have to because I now know his approval is totally reliant on playing by his rules without any consideration for anyone else!.  Unless he achieves exactly what he wants then he withdraws love. 

So they have their Desired Outcome – in that I have bowed to their demands which saves them each a maximum of £4k over the next year but, and it’s a big BUT, at what cost?

We all agreed just after Dad died that we needed to remain friends and keep affection and love as a focus!  For now they appear to have both lost sight of that.  They have won their Desired Outcome but the cost could be greater than they realise.  I will continue to love them both but I don’t have much desire to seek either of them out and spend a huge amount of time in their presence.  Why would I want to subject myself to such a lack of Respect and Love for me.  Also they’ve broken my Trust.  I trusted them to stick to our Agreement which we all signed in good faith.  They then both demanded that we broke that Agreement.  So how on earth can I trust them?

So, dear reader, my point is before running headlong for what one can think is a Desired Outcome stop and work out what the implications and side-effects of achieving it will bring. And if the Outcome isn’t driven primarily by Love then maybe, just maybe it’s worth tweaking it or opting for something different!

It’s just a thought!  What do you think?

Growth with a capital G

Growth – currently my second most important Value. After Love!  Though whether this is the right way round or not I still ponder over!!

Anyway when your Values are in order and you’re living by them then Growth happens.  Or it should do, I think!  Personal Growth.  Spiritual Growth (and by that I don’t mean Religious – well for me it doesn’t).   It means Growth within oneself!

Humans need Growth I believe or life becomes stale.  I believe Relationships need to Grow to remain passionate – which I presume is what those in relationships want!  And those of us not in relationships quite fancy!

I nearly missed out on Growth this week!  In fact if I’m brutally honest (which I usually am here) I probably wasn’t the best I could have been with my “hanging on to Significance, Cordiality and Fairness” brothers!  But at the 11th hour – thanks to some Strategic Intervention – I rescued Growth and it’s given me a little buzz and tingle in my tummy!!  (OK  that sounds as though I’ve finally flipped – but that’s where the feeling is!! – and no raised eyebrow suggestions please!!!)

Sometimes to experience Growth perhaps one needs to do something which initially feels totally alien. Which I might add it did!

But climbing out of the “communal playpen of cross 2 year olds” was quite empowering!  Slightly expensive!  But nonetheless empowering!

What have I Learnt!

Always good to review something once the heat’s died down!!

As Stephen has just commented on my previous post – what you fear is what you get.  Or to put it another way – what you focus on is what you get.

H is up to his eyeballs in resentment (for me!) and lots of other stuff within himself – probably created from childhood.  I often wonder if it started when I was born.  There are 2 years between us.  So suddenly there I was – competition for attention from Mum and Dad! I’ve read that a two year age gap can be difficult.  The older child is just old enough to appreciate the new arrival but too young to understand that it won’t affect the love he gets from his parents.  He just sees it as an intrusion into his world.

Anyway instead of focusing on love he focused on Fairness (something that has been eating away at him for years and years).  From the moment he approached the subject of this ‘dreaded Agreement’ it was clear in his voice over the phone that part of him wasn’t totally at ease with what he was doing.  He had already assumed I wouldn’t like what he was going to say – I could hear it in the tone of his voice.  And so he got exactly what he asked for – I dug in.  And I dug in for quite a few days!  But I didn’t get angry!  Which was even more annoying.  I just stuck to the document we’d all signed.

So he ranted and fired emails at me saying if he’d thought the Agreement was going to stay in place until all 3 properties sold, never mind how long that took, he never would have signed it!!   Difficult that one.  That’s what he signed up to!!

What then took him totally by surprise is that I gave him an act of love.  I told him I loved him.  I also asked him why he resented me so much. I gave him examples of this resentment (painful for him – but he hasn’t denied them!).  I asked him what had I done to trigger this in him?  I asked him what Fairness meant to him.  Of course none of this did he understand!  I would have been surprised if he had.  What I hope though is that somewhere in the deep recesses of his pain I may have triggered some doubt.  A possibility that he could be better than he is.

He retaliated by accusing me of ” alienating him with Emotional Blackmail” and various other fairly unpleasant remarks.  Hanging on for grim death to convincing himself he was right!  I continued to give him love.

Then along comes C. Wading in with remarks of Charity and Cordiality and horror that I should be seeing such pain in H and suggesting H get help so he would love himself! How dare I!!

So I bowed out.  And I signed off with Love.

I wonder why the 3 of us had Significance as our top value. It was mine for so long – until I dug! (thanks Stephen for providing the spade!)

All I remember from our parents was masses of love.  But C said to me once that he was always made to feel like the baby of the family – I think by H.  So maybe  H has had massive control over both of his siblings.  No wonder C ran to another part of the country!  The good side is that C has been amazingly successful in his business career – maybe partly fired by his desire to prove H wrong!  The sad side is that under pressure he doesn’t bring love to the top – he resorts to being very business like and cold and he brings Fairness!

Focusing on the wrong thing they’ve got the wrong thing.  Yes they have their small crumb of financial comfort.  If the property sells within the next year they will each have saved themselves £4K maximum!  So important on an overall inheritance of much much more than that!! .  But by focusing on their fears  and then feeding themselves their ‘proof’ of this they have both confirmed in their minds that I’m the money grabbing person that H decided decades ago I was!!  But then they’re faced with a problem!  I’ve bowed out of the legally binding agreement we set up together in good faith!!  Oops!!  Proof has gone.

So I’ve learnt that under pressure (and the pressure was incredible) to stick to my top Value of Love and that by giving myself Love I can walk away from this with my head held high.  I nearly didn’t.  I nearly failed.  I needed a nudge to remind me of my Values.

But since making the decision (and coming to terms with it!) I’ve slept better!!  A sure sign my Values are in line and I’m happy with my decision.

The sad thing is that there is no way either of my siblings will understand this.  They will convince themselves that they were the ones to ‘make me see sense’,  that they were right and I was wrong and that they’ve saved me from being greedy and money grabbing!  So feeding their fears!  And remaining Stuck in a place with no growth.

Can Values get distorted?

Can Values get distorted?

The debacle of the last few days has got me thinking!

This time last year Stephen asked me to write down my list of my top 50 Values! Wow! I panicked! I downloaded a list from the Internet! (I bet most people do this!). From this list of a couple of hundred or so I deleted all those that didn’t ‘do it’ for me. I was then asked to put these in order! Another interesting piece of homework. What is fascinating in all this is that Fairness never got into my top 50! Let alone the Top 10! Why? That’s what I’ve been pondering!

Well I think it’s because to me Fairness is intrinsic to meeting my Values of Love and Generosity (both of which I value highly). So actually for me Fairness doesn’t have to appear in my list. My other Values are too strong to need it. In fact resorting to Fairness only happens (for me) if the values of Love and Generosity are absent. Yet for my 2 brothers Fairness took them over. It’s become their obsession. So much so that the good values of love and trust, not to mention generosity have fallen by the way side. Like 2 small children in a playground they don’t want anything that isn’t Fair. Gosh I so nearly got sucked into their “game”.

So what got into them? Well I think it was driven by H. H has huge issues and I think they go back a long way. Years ago. when our parents were alive he was always trying to find out if I was getting what he considered preferential treatment. Whether I was getting some hidden ‘deal’ from them that he hadn’t had. He would check up on me and them by asking questions and expecting answers to things which were none of his business!

His biggest resentment was when Alex and I bought the flat thus owning a part of the parental property. We did it so cash could be released which they desperately needed. It also meant we ended up being the ones on hand to do the caring – which we did! But H wanted to be the one to do the bailout. He told me as much!! Significance is very important to him.

His resentment even stretched to Alex and I spending money on our holidays. He told me we shouldn’t be able to afford to go to the places we did! So he would try and scupper things when he and I had to share the caring of our Dad in the last years of his life, by attempting to organise his holidays at the same time as us!

Stories and incidents like these are too numerous to mention here. And the more I look at it the more horrified and saddened I am that he’s ended up in this place where resentment seems to be consuming him. I wonder what the trigger was.

And sadly his influence has infiltrated and coloured and affected what could have been a loving and fun time sorting out our inheritance. Instead of where we are now!!

So my question is Can Values get distorted?  Can the wrong rule end up being applied? Or a rule which is un-winnable?

I’ve bowed to pressure!

Sometimes it’s better to bow out!  And I have.

An email from the other brother backing H’s view tipped the balance.  Especially when – in his predicted CEO style- he started on about charity and being cordial.  Not to mention that he felt that morally the agreement had been fulfilled if not legally.

Though why I always get the giggles when he starts pontificating on about “What our father” would have wanted is a side to me that’s baffling!   You see I always want to add on “Who art in heaven” each time he says it!!  And somehow reading each sentence as “Our father, who art in heaven, would have wished……..”  makes it all funny!!  Especially when each sentence is so pompous!!

So dear reader I’ve done what I’ve done.  Thank you all so much for your stupendous support.  Which I know I appear not to have taken! But it was incredibly useful as it helped me think,  Thank you to Stephen for ringing me and listening as I talked it through!

So my decision has cost me financially.  And not cost them.  So in a way that gives me a certain dignity (just!).  And love (for me).

But I  wonder what the cost to them is.  Have they retained my respect for them?  Good question.  Have they retained Trust?  Another good point.

Have they got my Love?  Ah now there’s a question?

Will they think about any of these things?  No of course they won’t.  Not now.  But maybe one day.

Will they feel good in the long run.  Who knows.  I’m not them.  They will be who they want to be.

Will I forgive them.  Yes probably one day.  Not now.  It’s too soon.  But I probably won’t forget!   Fortunately this will be the last time we are forced to communicate with each other.  Once the sale of the final property goes through.  Wow do we need a buyer and a buyer big time!   A bonused banker is what we need who wants to invest in a pad in the country!

Then when the dust settles I believe I can at least be friends again with my other brother.  H has too many issues regarding me.  He will have to sort those out in his mind before he can be friends with me.  And my guess is he never will!

What difference will this make to my life.  Well in terms of seeing my 2 brothers not a lot.  We don’t see each other a great deal anyway.  And usually only when there’s a family event!  Last time we got together was my 60th birthday party – which they walked out of in favour of the pub across the road where they remained until after midnight rather than mix with me and my lovely friends.  So you see dear reader, we can hardly claim to be close!!