Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Butting In, Butting Out

Problems are a part of life. So are solutions. My training, education and my nature turn me immediately in the solution-seeking direction when a problem is perceived. Step one - identify it. Step two - evaluate it. Step three - observe it to determine if, as sometimes occurs, the problem resolves itself. If it does not, step four: The question becomes, "How can we fix this?"

Notice two fine points here. One: Problems are perceived, therefore neither viewed nor processed in the same way by all people. Two: In my way of thinking, solving the problem is a "we" not an "I" issue. There is always more than one person involved in a problematic situation. My approach is fashioned after that of Virginia Satir, world renowned therapist who always treated everyone in the close circle of her patient. She didn't for example, see just a 10-year-old bed wetter. She saw his/her parents, siblings (and grandparents, if they were a constant in the child's life).

Bringing everyone into the solution process only works when all individuals are motivated to fix things and wiling to be honest and open. This sometimes takes some doing, but it eliminates the natural tendency of individuals (a) to say one thing to one person, and something entirely different to someone else, and (b) to misquote or misrepresent something that someone else in the group said or did in an isolated situation.

Yes, this can be messy unless/until everyone understands the rules and agrees to play by them, but in the long run it gets you where you want to go much more quickly than the round-about path fraught with one-on-ones that elicit varying versions, all of which must be reconciled. But, lucky for me, I have a horse and I do lots of shovelling. Messy doesn't bother me.

Although I am not, by nature, a "joiner," a few years back I found a group I chose to become a part of. Despite my intention to remain a silent and obscure (passive) member, I am now in the center of things and not liking the problems that are inherent to personality dynamics. I recently defaulted to my normal method of handling matters that mattered to me, but I was told by someone above me in the hierarchy to, "butt out." Not her words, mind you, butt they get the idea across. So I have done just that.

What's good about this? I have made life easier for myself, and am off the hook where I often hang myself, concerned for others/all involved. (On the Titanic I would have tried to save everyone within my reach.) In my present situation, I can now keep myself safe with an "every other woman for herself" mindset, and with no guilt whatsoever. I tried casting a broader net of concern, to help make a situation better for everyone. I failed. Life goes on and I will go... to a place in life where I feel more comfortable -- helping those who want and appreciate my efforts. It's all good.

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