Over the years, I have spoken with a lot of people -- many of whom have very difficult choices to make (not just in their own lives, but also at times they feel the need to intervene with their loved ones who they believe are making poor choices).
To help ensure I "show up" in an empowering way whenever I speak with others, I created the following reminder (I am sharing this with you because I feel it contains some important points regarding communicating with others in general):
- The choices others make are not my responsibility.
- I do my best with what I know and believe, as does everyone else.
- When appropriate, I share as much as I can to help someone make an informed choice.
- Even if asked, I should not make their choices for them.
- My role is to communicate clearly, listen carefully and understand their needs -- such that they are empowered to make a choice they are happy with.
- Under no circumstances should I try to manipulate them, or force a particular outcome.
- Instead, be kind and loving, honour and respect them like I would a cherished friend.
- Remain grateful for the opportunity to interact with them, regardless of their choices.
- Learn from each experience, and over time, may each future interaction become increasingly fulfilling for all involved.
- Thank you for my ability to communicate.
Assisting someone else to experience freedom is a step towards experiencing your own freedom. When you allow others the freedom to choose (and continue to accept them, even if you would choose differently if in their situation), then conflict naturally reduces, and can even disappear! It is often the case that others need to experience the result of their own choices, so that they "get the lesson" and can grow and make wiser choices next time a similar situation occurs.
When someone feels they can talk to you about anything and you accept them unconditionally, this can radically enhance your relationship with them. The freedom you give others, ultimately becomes the freedom you experience for yourself! Conversely, if one tries to control, restrict or suppress others, they will find themselves losing their own power and freedom. Others won't want to invest their time and energy with them -- it will be more attractive to be elsewhere.
Now if another's choice is harming you in some way, or causing you to suffer, then it's time you made a new choice. For example, initially it may be helpful to communicate clearly to them about how their behaviour affects you, and give them an opportunity to understand how to respect you. Ask them if they will agree to make the necessary change(s). This may also be an opportunity for you to offer a change of behaviour in some way that may assist them to feel their needs are being met (perhaps they are stressed about something else, not involving you, but are yet to speak about this with you).
If things don't improve, then you may need to seriously consider making another choice: "To remove yourself from the situation." Perhaps temporarily at first, although if you feel unsafe, or you otherwise fail to see a desirable outcome by staying, then perhaps your best choice is to leave permanently. It may be helpful to talk about your situation to a trusted friend, colleague or someone else who can actively listen and help build your confidence and the support you need to leave the situation. No matter what you may have been told, you deserve to be treated with kindness, love and respect.
Choices are our way of navigating through life. A collection of choices, over a period of time, determine our destiny. If you wish to change something in your life, this will involve making new choices. Don't ask me why, it's just how it is.
Some people say, "I'll believe it when I see it." A more empowering way to use these words is to say, "I'll see it when I believe it." Your first step now is to believe that something better is at least possible (especially, if at first, you aren't sure how).
You always have more choices available to you than you realise. Discovering, and acting on, these additional choices leads to freedom. Take on believing that positive change is aligning for you... As a result of your new belief, new choices and actions will start to occur to you. New resources will become available to you, sometimes when you least expect it...
For example, right now I invite you to accept A Random Act of Kindness. A gift, paid for by a stranger, awaits you there.