Category Archives: Relating with Others

Being Sick Without Being A Victim – Part I

I’d love to be able to offer you 5 or 9 or 3 steps to stand tall within yourself as a person with chronic illness and not be a victim. I would if I could. But it’d be a lie to make any kind of guarantees about this particular boat you may find yourself in.

What I will tell you is that learning to live and advocate for yourself from a place of strength and confidence – versus from that place of weakness, anger and victimhood – might very well be THE most important skill set to master.

Being a victim is like trying to get something to work with the power button turned off...
Being a victim is like trying to get something to work with the power button turned off…

Of course, there’s no need to learn how if all you want is others’ pity. Or if you want someone else to make the hard choices for you. Or you want to be rescued. Or if you’ve given up on having a loveable future and expressing yourself fully in the world.

Learning to speak up and out (literally or metaphorically) is a subtle but powerful act of discernment – a choice point if you will – that we will find ourselves in repeatedly. Where not speaking up for what you need or require is an act of cowardice. Where blaming others for not knowing what is important to you is simply a place to hide. Where speaking too loudly is an attack. Where how you speak about your needs or boundary or limits or whatever has been dishonored or is about to be – is just as important as what you communicate.

Because you are communicating for a reason. Because you have a message in the moment that you want someone else to actually GET versus just hearing the words come out of your mouth. Because only then will something change – at least for that moment. Perhaps also for moments to come…   ~Z


A Fruitful Way to Enhance Accurate Communication and Support

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”    George Bernard Shaw

Most (but not all) of us have the ability to speak. But we all know that words don’t tell the whole story – that sometimes when we respond to content without taking into account the tone and body language and context etc. – we can miss what’s actually being communicated.

What if we learned from our miscues and from those who know us best?
What if we learned from our miscues and from those who know us best?

There is a beautiful way to make clear what we really mean by doing a bit of collaborative and proactive spelunking with those who know us well to discover what we’re really saying with our actions.

For example, it’s important for people in my life to know that at anytime when I am cranky, it might mean my blood sugar is low, and to ask me if I’ve eaten recently.

There are 4 components here, which are:

  1. Context – what is happening
  2. Actions/Behaviors – what the person does or does not do
  3. Possible meanings
  4. What a helpful response might be (as defined by the person)

Using your imagination, you can see that working up a chart with this information could be useful for most any relationship, but especially one where underlying physical/mental conditions have a bigger influence.

Fill in the blanks for yourself. Think about times when you’re being misunderstood and feeling poorly and just can’t seem to get the right reaction from others in your life. Like when you’ve just gotten back from work, or the store, and are complaining about what’s been happening – it might mean you just want to be heard, and the response you want is for someone to listen, not to probe or give advise.

Got it? My challenge is to ASK someone in your life about YOUR indirect communication, as THEY know better than you. Then, begin your chart – so you BOTH know what’s really being said.  ~Z