A Cloud-a-Day Keeps the Conflict Away!
To Be Or Not To Be In Contact With a Colleague. Where Did I Go Wrong?
Sent By Dr. Shoshi Reiter, Israel
At a nice summer evening two friend sat in the room talking about work, gossiping and enjoying a nice evening. Noa, one of the girls, asked her friend Rose for help with her project. Rose thought to herself that she is tired to think and that Noa's project is well done and needs no improvement. So she answered "we will look into it at the end of the week".
As time went by Rose was more and more troubled with her "business". She tried to have some relaxed time for herself when she met Noa, who asked her again for help. Feeling emotionally and mentally exhausted she said with the best will and intention:" I remember my promise to you, don't worry, we will do it at the end of the week". Rose was sure that it was an honorable and a friendly answer. She was very surprised by Noa's response.
You are not a good friend at all!
Noa was very angry and insulted. She said to Rose "You are just trying to get rid of me; I don't have to beg for your help. I thought you are my friend and I see that you are misleading me. I can't rely on you at all. I am very disappointed. You are not a good friend at all". Rose felt as if she got a slap on her face. She was surprised and angry at Noa's words. Rose felt sick to her stomach, thinking "Hay, what had just happened here? What went wrong? Doesn't she see my situation? Doesn’t she know my mind is occupied now? How could she be so blind to my needs, how could she ignore them? What is she thinking to herself, insulting me like that? Didn't I say I will help her? Accusing me, who values friendship, for not being a friend? How could she go so wrong?".
Rose was furious, yet she breathed deeply and said: "You know what, let's do it now!" There was a silence and a weird moment. Then the two started working on Noa's project, which needed only little clarification. Rose felt sick to her stomach.
You are a good friend...
The project was a great success. Noa was happy, getting a lot of compliments. She said to Rose: you know what? You are a good friend, and every thing is great, we are o.k. Rose looked at her disappointed thinking to herself: "one day I am not a good friend the other day I am. There is no value to what she says. She is not a friend! How could she ignore my situation, my feeling?" Rose's emotions were still in chaos and she decided to stay away from Noa and not work closely with her anymore.
Use the tools!
The next few days Rose still feeling sick avoided Noa's company at work. When she got back to her senses she started thinking about what had happened. It was obvious to her that it was a lesson for life. But what was the lesson? "Don't bang your head against the wall" she thought, "stop hurting yourself, don't jump to conclusions. Think carefully! use the tools, use the tools!!"
The first thing that came to her mind was the conflict she had about working closely with Noa. She pulled out a paper and wrote a "cloud":
On the one hand, in order to be happy, she needs to grow, join forces and socially belong. In order to fulfill her needs she wants to work collaboratively with a colleague (Noa).
On the other hand in order to be happy, she needs to protect her feelings, avoid getting hurt. In order to fulfill her needs she wants to stay away from that colleague.
"Is avoiding (people, situations) a strategy I know from other episodes in my life?"
Everything looked so logical. What is she supposed to do? Reading again the cloud she asked herself:"Is avoiding (people, situations) a strategy I know from other episodes in my life?" the answer was "Yes! Definitely yes. But why?" Rose decided to go deeper and explore more what is going on in "I land"(the "land" of the soul). She used the "branches" and kept asking why. Here is what she came up with: Why did she choose avoidance strategy? Because she felt attacked. When feeling attacked she has one of the classic responses - fight, flight or freeze. First she freezes and then she flees. She went deeper and asked herself why did she feel attacked? The answer she came up with was, because somebody accused her of not keeping an important value. If that happens and if she is not sure of herself and has no backbone, she is waiting for outside validation (for different issues). The approval of her being/not being a good friend is out there in others hand. Those others (who are they?) might change their mind, differ from each other, and her world is unstable. Aha… she gave the key to other people. She decided to take the key back, and build a strong foundation for her paradigm. People may change their mind. Friendship is an important value for her yet it doesn't mean to deny her own needs. Sometimes it might appear as if she is not living up to her values. It is her responsibility and freedom of choice to decide when, to whom and what she is willing to do.… Ahaa… a lot to absorb.
Rose read again what she had written. She was not satisfied. Something was still missing. She kept nagging to herself trying to reach for more understanding. She went again to her strategy of "flight" avoid ness and the cause to it. She recognized that when feeling attacked, she avoids the situation or people, but why? The answer that came to her mind was: "because I don't know what to do, how to protect myself. Ahaa…. here is another issue to work on."
Rose keeps digging
She kept digging. She thought that she doesn't know how to protect herself, because she was expecting others to be nice to her and protect her. If they didn't play the role, she was insulted and avoided them, blaming them for being masty. Again she gave the key to her feelings and the responsibility to other people. She gave herself a good kick. "Wake up girl! You are not a little kid anymore. Mom and daddy are no longer in the picture to kiss your wounds and protect you. You are the mother and grandmother now. It's time you use the skills you definitely have. If somebody harm's your children or grandchildren you know exactly what to do in your gentle yet determined way. You have the skills. Use them for yourself. Be in charge, don't blame others". What a journey it was. Rose felt worn out from all that thinking. She took a cup of coffee and went to sit in her beautiful garden. The wind was whispering to her "grow up little girl".
Rose summarizes her journey and insights
Rose summarized her journey and insights: What to change? What is the problem? Definitely not Noa's behavior. The problem is inside -wrong perception, wrong assumption, wrong expectation. What to change to? Self-esteem, Self respect, Ownership of my life. How to change? Using TOC tools for honest inner talk. Digging deep, changing perception and behavior. Taking full responsibility over her life.
Rose never spoke to Noa about what happened. She felt it was work she had to do honestly with herself, to gain deep understanding. Noa and Rose are working together great. Rose is aware that she has to speak up and express her needs and wants. Nobody has to guess. She learned to take more responsibility over her life, and if needed, protect her feelings and the little girl inside her.
About Soshi Reiter
Shoshi is an Education Professional. She lives in Israel, and is dedicating her efforts in the field of human development. She runs an organization named ‘TOC for Human Development’, that is training students in self regulation and leadership. She developed a program of using the GTP on multiple intelligence, coaches individuals and institutions in using Theory Of Constraints philosophy and tools.
Shoshi can be reached at email@example.com
Topic: To Be Or Not To Be In Contact With a Colleague