by Susan Begeman Steiner
You have decided that it is finally time to deal with that particular person about that particular “thing” that you’ve been putting off. You’ve been dreading it and have decided you will finally address it face to face. This is your Moment of Truth.
First, let me say congratulations! Most people never come to the point of actually addressing directly a difficult situation. It seems easier to sweep it under the carpet and tell yourself it will work itself out without you having to do anything. In the meantime you suffer and your relationship with the person suffers. Getting back into relationship with the person requires action, but the pay off is worth it.
So you feel that you are ready now. Question is, how do you proceed? This Moment of Truth conversation deserves focused preparation. It will help to take time to answer these questions:
1. What happened?
Answer like a scientist who is observing and not ‘getting inside anyone’s head.’
On New Year’s Eve, you and three younger people used chalk to write words and draw on my car. You said it was meant as a joke. You did not offer to clean my car afterwards. I went to the car wash, but the writing/pictures damaged the paint job. The specialist said my car would have to be buffed which costs $150.
2. Remember how you felt when this happened.
Were you angry? Embarrassed? Disappointed? Write down your feelings. You will want to tell the person how you felt -- not as an emotional weapon, but as information. The person needs to know the emotional cost of his actions.
I was angry that you would mess with my car and also disappointed that you didn't offer to pay for the cleaning when it became obvious that the chalk had damaged the paint.
3. What specifically do you want?
I’d like for you to pay to have my car buffed. And I’d like you to apologize.
4. Write down notes for the conversation.
Make notes for the conversation. Keep the ending in mind and get yourself ready to listen to his side of the story. Your notes will help you stay on track and stick to your guns when it comes to asking for what you want.
5. Consider when to have the conversation and then schedule it.
When is the best time to talk to him? You may need to set an appointment so there is adequate time to talk (yes, even if he is a family member). If possible, meet with him face to face in a private place. If you can't meet face to face, then talk with him on the phone. In a situation like this, email and texting are not good options.
Remember that the goal is to get back into relationship with the person. It will probably be a relief not to have to step over this anymore and be on the way to regaining the trust that was lost.
Comment from Heinz Müller: It is so easy to see what others are doing wrong and what they should change. But most of the time, we forget that we actually could start with ourselves.
The following words were written on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop in the Crypts of Westminister Abbey*:
When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country.
But it, too, seemed immovable.
As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.
And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed my self first, then by example I would have changed my family.
From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.
* Quoted in the book, Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield
Based on Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway® by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.
In Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway®, Susan Jeffers revealed truths about fear to empower us to move forward with our lives. There are very few of us who escape feelings of fear and self-doubt as we go through life. But we can all learn how to create within us a wonderful sense of confidence and peace of mind as we face all the situations in our lives. An understanding of these truths about fear will help us to find the way.
• The fear will never go away as long as you continue to grow. At first look you might say, "Oh, goodie! All I have to do is not grow anymore. After all, I'm quite safe and content where I am." This is so unrealistic since, as long as you are here, fear will always be your companion because you cannot avoid taking steps into the unknown. This first truth shows that you can't wait around for the fear to go away. Susan acknowledged that, if you do, you will be waiting a very long time.
Fear is quite determined. Each time you accomplish one thing, the next step into the unknown will occur and new fears will arise for you. You may grow out of being afraid of the dark, but that doesn't stop you feeling fear in other situations. Once you realize that fear is not going to go away, you can feel relieved because you no longer have to work so hard to get rid of fear. No matter what you do, whether your fears are big or little (and the bigger they are, the bigger your life is becoming) you will always find fear by your side. It's futile to wait until you're no longer afraid because...
• The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it. Susan acknowledged that this might sound like a contradiction. She just told us that fears don't go away. However, she explained, "When you 'do it' often enough, you will no longer be afraid in that particular situation. You will have faced the unknown and you will have handled it." This makes perfect sense.
It's true that sometimes you can't "do" something you're afraid of. Susan separated fears into those that are instinctual and healthy, and keep us alert to trouble, and those that hold us back from personal growth. It is those latter fears that require action. There is nothing as satisfying as taking action. Action in itself is very powerful, and it helps us sculpt our experience of life instead of feeling we have no choices.
• The only way to feel better about yourself is to go out and...do it. Before you can feel better about yourself, you have to go out and "do it." When you have accomplished something, not only does the fear go away, but you get a big bonus - you do a lot toward building your self-confidence. The threat behind the fear is the thought that you can't handle it. Each time you overcome fear, it increases your confidence and, as your confidence grows, you will know that you can handle more and more. So the objective is to keep mastering challenging situations in your life by dealing with your fear. It will feel so good that you will be looking for more challenges to take on. Fear will no longer hold you back as your self-confidence continues to grow.
These truths are an integral part of Susan's Higher Self teaching. Remembering these truths will help you connect to your Higher Self - the best of who you are. She reassured us with these words, "There is something inside of you - your Higher Self - that is always there to handle elegantly, beautifully, intelligently, powerfully and lovingly, anything and everything that can ever happen to you." Believe that, feel the connection to your Higher Self, and you'll have no reason not to take action!
Susan's remaining incontrovertible truths about fear will be covered in a later newsletter article.
Inspired by the Fear and Do It Anyway® by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. Copyright © 2012
Self-Help Book / Personal Development