I have a friend who’s very near and dear to my heart, but I suspect I’ve disappointed her over the past few months.
Staying in touch has become more difficult for a variety of reasons. I could list them, but the details don’t really matter. It is what it is. This is a time when I need to prioritize myself. I’m dealing with a few challenges and as things change, I’m having to shift and adapt.
But understanding this doesn’t lessen the way I feel, knowing I’m disappointing this person.
I have a history of being a pleaser. I learned from a young age that pleasing others made me feel good. If another individual thought I was a good person, it must be so, but that isn’t a healthy way to approach life. Self-esteem should be rooted in how you view yourself, not how others do.
I may be aware of this old patterning and work to limit its power over me, but that doesn’t mean it’s vanished. My head tells me I can’t live to please others, but my heart has something different to say.
There is a lot of discussion about what matters more, your head or your heart. You’ll find valid reasons to come down on either side of that particular fence. Your choice is also affected by your personality type. In Myers Briggs terms you’re more naturally a thinker or a feeler.
In truth, it’s important to give both perspectives consideration. When they work together, you can feel that what you think is the right thing for you. That’s kind of a convoluted way of saying you want to feel good about the decisions your brain makes. It doesn’t make situations like mine any easier but understanding what’s going on brings with it a certain sense of peace.
I know that conflicts between head and heart are common. There’s no one right answer. There might not even be a perfect resolution.
There are a wide variety of ways to deal with any problem. Any of them could work. I don’t want to hold out false hope by suggesting if you follow a certain formula, all will be well. What I can offer are some actions to consider.
• Look at all sides of the situation—Rather than trying to justify your position, step into the other person’s shoes. How may they have perceived what happened? Don’t seek judgement; instead strive for understanding of all perspectives.
• Be honest with yourself—It might help to share your plight with a trusted confident who will be truthful in a loving way. Perhaps you’ve overlooked an important aspect of the situation. In any case, don’t let your Ego interfere with the process. This is about wisdom not proclaiming a verdict.
• Take a step towards resolution—The important part of this step is to be conscious about what you decide to do next. You don’t have to actually do something. You may choose to allow time to heal the situation or give yourself or the other person space to gain perspective. One of my favourite actions is to have a good night’s sleep before deciding what to do next.
• Communicate honestly—Regardless of how uncomfortable it is, reach out to the person or persons involved if that feels like the right action. Decide whether this is best done verbally or through written communication. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Don’t let yourself be dragged into drama. Try to share rather than defend or condemn.
When you find your head and your heart involved in a tug-of-war, the key is to take some step towards resolution. The worst thing you can do is to stand still or close your eyes to the situation.
Whatever action you choose will help you step out of what could become a never-ending cycle of frustration and negative emotions.
“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.”
John F. Kennedy
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.