Thursday, September 30, 2010

So, I'm doing Magpie Girl's Power Stories class.

The most recent one is, Lesson Fourteen: How to To Speak Your Truth. Period.

Tara Sophia Mohr writes:
There is the power of telling. Of saying. Of speaking your truth.

And then there is the power of ending your sentence. Stopping. Putting the period at the end of the words.

That second power is less talked about, but just as important. It goes like this:

“I am uncomfortable with the way you are speaking to me.” Period. Silence. Wait.

“I would like to work at home two days a week.” Period. Silence. Wait.

“I need more time on this.” Period. Silence. Wait.

“My heart is hurt.” Period. Silence. Wait.

In the silence, you give room to people, to life, to meet you. Standing in your power is finishing your sentence. It’s sitting in the silence.
I was already kind of trying to do that with an email I wrote Tuesday night -- trying to discipline myself express what I am feeling/what I need and then wait for the other person to respond, rather than pre-emptively responding to everything I think they might say in response -- but having it really clearly articulated like that I think will help me to hold onto that.

I was really struck by, In the silence, you give room to people, to life, to meet you.

She goes on to write:
1. Breathe. Connect to your body and your being.
2. Notice how you are feeling.
3. State a fact about your feelings, your needs, your experience, in less than 10 words. (Hint: those are always “I” statements, not “you” statements or “it is” or “we should” statements.)
4. Put the period on it. Sit in the silence. Wait. Now it’s their turn.

I used to be scared of that last step. It felt rude, almost. It felt rebellious – to simply say what I felt, to make a mess, to disagree, to cause an inconvenience, and then just leave it out there, on the table. To say it and not back-pedal. To say it not decorate it with flowers or put vanilla frosting all over it.

This isn’t working for me. Period. Silence. Wait.

No I won’t be able to attend. Period. Silence. Wait.

I am disappointed. Period. Period. Silence. Wait.


This is where I’ve given away my power for years. Making nice. Not wanting to create conflict. Being unable, physically unable it felt, to express dissatisfaction and leave it on the table, as is. I wanted you to like me, and I thought that would be put at risk.

Receiving the Care We Give

Little did I know that expressing dissatisfaction to someone and maintaining relationship with him or her rarely conflict. Usually, real expression deepens relationship.

When someone says to me something like, “this isn’t working for me,” I care. I respond civilly. I start talking about what we can do to fix it.

It was mind-blowing to me to realize others might meet me that way too. That I could be the one to state a need, a preference, and others might change to accommodate it. That they might even enjoy doing that.

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