Does life sometimes feel unfair?
I guess most of us have felt that way at times. It’s what we do about it that makes the difference.
Are you a bystander in what’s happening to you?
How about grabbing your life with both hands, creating the future you want?
Let me explain…
It’s too easy, when things feel hard, to become a victim of our circumstances. Or to lash out at the unfairness of it all, and blame others, the weather, politics. Or to feel the need to ‘rescue’ others in order to make ourselves feel better. Even when others don’t need or want that.
Any of these reactions can leave us feeling stuck and negative.
Steven Karpman referred to this as the Drama Triangle:
But what if we could do it differently?
What if we instead chose Adult? To respond to circumstances in a way that we can feel proud of and moves us forward positively?
How to Grab Your Life With Both Hands
To give you an example, one client of mine was overwhelmed and distressed at her situation at work. She had an unsupportive boss and felt overloaded with work, even though she loved her job. She’d been stuck in a cycle of negativity, stress and not knowing what to do next.
When we reflected on the situation, she realised that she did have other options. She could choose to take responsibility for her workload. She could work out what she was able to do and what she could not do, given her time and energy. It was possible for her to look after herself better both in and outside work, to improve her morale, energy and effectiveness. She could ask for the help she needed.
When we spoke again a few weeks later, she was already turning her life around.
She started doing things differently. She listened to her boss, but she recognised she also had valid views and could voice them respectfully. If required to do more than was possible, she asked her boss what the priorities were, or which deadlines could change. She suggested some new approaches to work that would save time and still get the important things done.
When her boss was negative with her, she chose no longer to see that as a personal attack, but as a reflection of her boss’s morale and situation. This gave her the opportunity to be more sympathetic and understanding to her boss, whilst still refusing to be drawn into arguments, or lashing out. And she spoke up when appropriate – to set limits around when she needed to finish work in order to give of her best the next day.
Soon the difference in my client was profound. From someone who was downbeat, overloaded and resigned to her ‘unfair’ life, she had a new energy and positivity about her. She was taking positive action. She felt in control again. She’d even begun to bring the fun back into her life, spending quality time with friends and family and getting her weekends back. And because she was happier and more effective in her work, her boss’s respect for her grew.
She was grabbing her life with both hands.
Being an Adult means we have choices how we will respond. It means taking responsibility for ourselves and our thoughts and actions (and not for others).
Being Adult means recognising that we do have power in any situation and we can use that power wisely and respectfully.
And being an Adult means we set appropriate boundaries so that we take care of ourselves and value ourselves enough to expect others to respect us too.
Do you want to remain on the Drama Triangle?
Or would you like to grab your life with both hands?