Be Aware of the Cost of Giving In!

By Jim and Jori Manske

As communication trainers and mediators specializing in relationship and family issues, we have noticed how many fall into a costly pattern of submission (or giving in) that can lead to an ever-deepening rift between couples as well as parents and children. The antidotes include cultivating a growing awareness of choice-full-ness and using requests as an invitation to dialog and connect.

Submission is a mostly unconscious process where we submit because we do not see another choice. We think we “have to” do something.

Surrender is a mostly conscious process of consideration and empathy, focused on choosing a strategy that includes one’s own needs as well as another’s needs.

For example, if my partner asks me to do the dishes, and I’m “asleep” to my needs in the moment, I may submit and notice resentment rise up within me as I wearily pile the dishes into the rack. Another nail in the coffin of our relationship!

If instead, I consider her request, empathize with her needs for support and cooperation, then take the time to connect to my own needs for choice and contribution, I might willingly surrender because I am choosing to contribute to supporting both of us by doing the dishes. There is no cost of resentment, even if I prefer to not do the dishes. Surrender is the energy that builds an empathic civilization!

Or, I can notice my own needs for rest arising, expressing first my empathy for my partner: “I’m guessing you’d like some support and cooperation, yes?” Then I can express my own needs: “I’m noticing I have very little energy for doing the dishes right now, and I too would like to have that order and cleanliness.” Finally, I can make a request: “How would it be for you if we soaked them in the sink right now and did them together later?” In this case, I’m surrendering to my own need for rest, while also contributing to support and cooperation by entering into a dialog to find another strategy to meet her request.

Jori and Jim Manske, principals of Peaceworks, are Certified NVC Trainers and practitioners of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). Jim and Jori offer training, mediation, facilitation, organizational transformation, coaching, mentoring and classes in integrating NVC.