I think society assumes we already know how to negotiate, and are good at it, yet many clients I work with secretly struggle to even know how to do it in a healthy way. My thought is because perhaps they need to do some boundary work first. Boundaries help us remember where we end and others begin. What we have control over and what we don’t, and steer us back to the reality that yes, we are always choosing, whether we know it – or like it – or not. Here are few things to ponder as you work on things.
Let Go of the Outcome. When we are secretly trying to manage the outcome, then we must therefore resort to manipulating the other person. Sounds awful, but think about it for a minute, how else would you “Get them to see.” Or “Get them to change their mind.”? Trying to coerce, cajole, beg, shame, guilt or crazy make by questioning their reality is bullying and somewhat if not downright abusive, depending upon the level of nasty it is served with. Instead, just state what YOU need, what YOU think, and what YOU feel. Then allow that information to go to them and let go of what happens next. You really have no control anyway if you tried to coax or bribe or guilt them. Besides, remember the last time you felt the relief and then trust in them the last time they just did something you approved of on their own volition?
Work on Acceptance. To be able to do this of course, we have to be able to grieve. To work through our anger, our fear, and perhaps disappointment that they may nor or won’t see it our way. That there may be huge losses at stake if they don’t, and yet it is our job to sit with and own our pain and fear. It’s not ok to put that on them. We can express, of course, how we feel but not with the agenda to make them feel horrible. Our process is ours alone, as they have theirs as well.
Take Responsibility. Yes, for yourself only please. Detach from their stuff and own your thoughts, feelings, choices, and behaviors. Your valid needs, your fears and your struggle to accept things sometimes. Own the hard part when it comes to looking in the mirror and seeing your behavior. Own it, heal it and change it. This is the biggest aspect of feeling confident enough to then negotiate with another human as to what you need. This is the essence of boundaries, where we focus within on our own choices.
Choice is the key to healthy negotiating, and we need to be in a place of choice, and express those choices, as we also allow the other person to do the same. That way there is no manipulation, no guilting and no blurred lines that make the interaction feel unsafe – and usually becomes the precursor to unhealthy conflict. Staying in choice, and owning your choices is the best way to problem solving.