Updated: Jul 28, 2021
Do u ruminate? Struggle to let things go? Feel stuck on things from your past?
Then u need this worksheet!
When dealing with difficult or stressful interactions it is easy to get overwhelmed, distracted and confused. This makes it difficult to live our values and hinders constructive conversations.
In these situations, having a process or framework to fall back on is very helpful. It acts like a compass or an anchor that helps us correct course when we start feeling lost.
Here are a few of my favorite frameworks to help us have healthy relationships.
PROBLEM SOLVING APPROACH
1. NAME or describe the problem?
- We have a difference of opinion about COVID vaccines and they are pushing their view on me.
2. What does this distress tell me about what is important to me? (My VALUES)
- This tells me being treated as a capable adult whose opinions are seen as equally valid is important to me. Also people respecting my boundaries is important- when I say I am no longer interested in hearing more information I want people to respect that.
3. What are the FACTS? (things everyone would agree on)
- Exposure to different information leads people to different conclusions.
- There are many differing points of view on this subject.
- I trust the sources I use. (They probably trust their sources too).
- People make their choices because of what is going on for THEM, it is not necessarily about me.
- Only I chose if I matter in my relationships, I do not need other people’s permission. I matter even if they are not treating me that way.
4. What is FICTION? (my assumptions, interpretations)
- They don’t respect me.
- They don’t think I can reach my own conclusions. They think I am incapable.
- Only one of us can be right.
- They don’t think I matter, that is why they are not respecting my boundaries.
5. What are my CHOICES? (List all of them, good and bad, then chose to act on the one(s) that are most in line with your values in this situation).
- Remind them we can agree to disagree.
- Use an I message. (ie. When you don’t respect my boundary to stop discussing this, I feel hurt and disrespected because it seems you are saying you know what is best for me, and in the future I will remind you that we can agree to disagree and if you do not drop it I will leave or blatantly change the subject.)
- Remind them that we used to talk about other things, and I would like to go back to that.
- Use Reflect and Wonder- I am noticing that you are continuing to discuss this even when I asked you to drop the subject, I wonder what you make of that?
- Use a paraphrase- It sounds like you are worried for my health and frustrated I don’t see things the way you do. Is that right? What do you think you need for us to move forward in a way that respects my boundary?
- Let them know this topic is off the table for me. They can discuss it with other people.
- Avoid them.
- Lash out at them.
- Mock or demean their point of view.
- Drop them as a friend.
For bonus points- add the questions:
What is my contribution to how this went?
I escalated pretty quickly when they started asking me to defend my position. I think I am waiting to be hurt or questioned because of my past experiences with people treating me like my opinion is always wrong or like I don’t matter.
What opportunities am I getting from this situation?
A chance to practice setting and enforcing my boundaries, to live with integrity, to practice compassion and self- compassion.
An alternative to the above framework is to use this one instead…
ADJUSTED STEP APPROACH
I resent …
I resent Charlie for not respecting my boundaries and continuing to push their point of view on me after I asked them to stop.
It makes me feel like they see me as incapable of knowing what is right for me, making my own decisions and like I don’t matter when I set a boundary and they completely ignore it and then act like there is something wrong with me when I am upset by that.
This impacts my… (tick all that apply)
Self esteem (how I see myself) …
Pride (how I think other people see me) …
Ambitions (what I think I am capable of or how I think I deserve to be treated)
Safety / security (emotionally and / or physically)
My part is …
Was I dishonest? If so, how?
I was dishonest by allowing them to continue to talk about it past the point where I was comfortable, humoring them at my own expense and hoping they would stop. It likely sent a mixed message.
Was I selfish? If so, how?
I probably did that because I selfishly just wanted to avoid conflict, I just didn’t want to deal with it.
Was I pushing my own agenda? If so, what was it?
Avoiding was pushing my own agenda to keep the peace and people please at any expense.
If I zoom out, what do I think was going on for the other person? What was the context for them?
They are off work and quite ill. They don’t have a lot of things they feel they have control over right now. So they are probably very invested in feeling they can contribute something positive. They are also worried about my well-being and probably looking for validation of their own point of view as well to make them feel better.
If I zoom out, what was going on for me? What was my context? (ie. Stressors etc)
I have a lot going on in my own life and I just don’t feel I have a lot of bandwidth to have a big discussion and have to stand my ground with this. I think I may have been unconsciously picking my battles and trying to self-care in that way.
Is it reasonable to expect myself or the other people to behave differently given their circumstances and/ or life experience? Is someone to blame?
Given where I suspect each of us is coming from I would not expect either of us to reasonably behave differently, we are each however responsible for our own actions in how we chose to express what was going on for us, which was not all healthy.
Was anyone wronged?
We were both wronged and hurt by this interaction.
What is the fear behind the resentment?
They see me as incapable and/ or don’t think I matter and that I can’t matter in that relationship unless they give me permission to . As I write that I actually know that isn’t true. Only I control whether or not I matter and if someone is treating me in a way that does not honor that I can set and enforce necessary boundaries.
I always recommend ending either of these approaches with MEANING MAKING:
1. What did I LOSE from this experience?
Sleep, peace, self-esteem, confidence.
2. What did I GAIN?
Eating poorly, questioning myself, rumination, opportunity to practice holding onto my power, self-compassion and compassion for others, a better understanding of what may have been going on for them and for me, a chance to zoom out and practice my skills.
3. What did I LEARN? (What is the action item that I will do differently next time as a result of what I learned)
Doing this process helps me find a sense of closure and helps me focus on the part that IS in my control, my personal accountability. I will continue doing this when I find my self getting stuck ruminating or questioning myself about interactions.
I like thinking about what my distress tells me about my values and what opportunities are found in tough situations. I will put up some post-it notes to help me remember to do this or print off the Fighting Nice Worksheet and have it handy on my desk as a reminder.
I hope this helps! I tried to use an example that is timely and relevant from what I hear from a lot of people recently. Have a great week everyone ;0)