Here are 3 pointers to negotiate a new level of freedom while reinforcing what’s best in your important relationships.
Former commitments may be like icebergs – 7/8 submerged.
Have you ever tried revising an agreed-upon time commitment with someone, only to find it nearly impossible to budge? Perhaps you underestimated the complexity of the issue by focusing only on the immediate time routine you’d wanted to change.
As an alternative, try considering the history of how the agreement evolved. View it from each vantage point. When you assess the whole picture, you acquire a clearer sense of scale. Then you can go into discussions much better prepared.
For example, let’s say you’d like to take a class on an evening you used to spend with a friend. What kind of change does this entail? Is she counting on your presence or support, or did she pass up another opportunity, thinking she was going to be with you? With sensitivity, you can honor the rich network of considerations and compromises that make up these commitments.
Inviting others’ suggestions can significantly improve your new time boundary.
Firm boundaries needn’t be rigid. If you approach others in an open-handed way, welcoming their feedback, they may not only accept but also actively support your new boundary.
Let’s go back to the last example: if you feel attending an evening class will open up opportunities for you, share the full significance of what you are trying to achieve. Let your friend know how this will enrich your life. Perhaps the two
of you can devise new possibilities for spending time together, in ways that support you both achieving long-range goals.
Win/Win Solutions Are Built on Gain/Loss Foundations
The Law of Polarity (everything has an opposite) may seem like a paradox. But it introduces us to a powerful secret — exploring your boundary’s inherent gains and losses helps make you an expert negotiator.
In our last E-Zine issue, you learned how to create gain/loss tally sheets, both for you and for those you’re taking your time back from. Studying these with care provides you with two priceless strengths – empathy and perspective.
* Your empathy encourages you to work side by side with others.
Here are some questions you might ask to enhance your empathy:
* What is considered a gain?
* Which gains are valued most?
* Which losses are the most workable?
Sometimes, each person valuing different things can lead to highly satisfying compromises. This kind of intimate understanding enriches the dialogue!
* Your perspective provides a broad overview for making decisions.
If you approach this law of opposites with genuine curiosity, you can observe first hand how any decision entails losses as well as gains.
As you can see from these 3 Tips, honoring the complexity of setting respectful boundaries rewards you in multiple ways! You proceed with more heart and optimism. And this gives depth to each time choice that you make.© Copyright 2011 Paula Eder, Ph.D.