As others see us
From: Lynn Nadeau (
Date: Sat, 1 Dec 2001 01:19:04 -0700 (MST)
>One thing that I find helpful is to not tell anyone what I think of them or
>how they make me feel, but to figure out why they are behaving the way they

I too am highly motivated to see things get done, and full of "helpful" 
comments and organizing skills, and also have had to cope with not always 
having my help be appreciated.
It IS useful to notice the patterns in other people's reactions. One 
member must have been criticized by their mother for every breath they 
took, because a vast range of other people's actions are taken, with 
upset, as criticism. 

Once something like that is noticed, I need to guard against totally 
pinning the problem on the other person, though. For one thing, once I 
know where a person's hot buttons are, I should have sense enough to 
steer clear of those sensitive spots. And I need to also be willing to 
look at whether other people also give me a similar message somehow. 

It has been useful in my interactions with the group to let them know, 
explicitly, that I am making a conscious effort to change certain 
behaviors. And also to share my own perception of those behaviors. Some 
people had pegged me (one of those reputations from ten years ago) as an 
indiscriminate talker in meetings. They were surprised to hear me say 
things like

- for the past year I have come to monthly meetings with 5 marbles in one 
of my two side pockets. Each time I share an opinion or analysis of a 
situation, I switch a marble to my other pocket. I need to debate with 
myself how to "spend" my marbles, sometimes deciding to wait and see if 
someone else would raise the same issue, so I could speak on something 

- I often make a conscious effort to speak last when we have a group 
discussion of something, because I have often thought out, usually 
written out, much more of an analysis that most other people have 
prepared, but don't want to take away the participation of others. I 
wait, and only share the items that nobody else noted.

- I sometimes get very frustrated that other people do NOT talk more - 
like they expect me to do all the verbal "work". I wish they'd attend to 
the details, explore the impacts, etc, and be generally more vigorous 
about moving us forward.

Such comments added perspectives that hadn't occured to those who simply 
assumed that I babbled at random! 

So not only do I try to understand why others do what they do, but assist 
them in learning the same about me.

Lynn Nadeau, RoseWind Cohousing
Port Townsend Washington (Victorian seaport, music, art, nature)

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