Saturday, February 02, 2008


This is probably the rule that has tripped me up the most. I think it's because I never considered what I was doing, "keeping a secret."

There are three parts to this rule:

1) 100 %

2) Negative feelings (resentment)

3) Positive feelings (strokes)

Here's the way it works: In a cooperative community if someone asks you a question, and you don't answer truthfully, you are not "giving your 100% truth" which leads to resentment. For instance, if you're at work and someone says, "Hey, I'm going down to ___________ and getting a sandwich, do you want to come?" If you do NOT want to go (for whatever reason) but you say, "sure," you will not join this person cooperatively, and your time with them will build resentment. Ideally, you answer kindly and truthfully, first checking in with yourself to figure out what that is, and respond with something like, "You know? I love that you asked me, but I am needing to stay right here and finish what I'm doing so I can go home early for my daughter's basketball game."

In this scenario if you had gone to lunch out of guilt/duty/fear/etc. and then been behind in your work when you got back, you would possibly resent the person that asked, and shift blame for missing the game to them, which is not being cooperative, it's a power play.

Got all that?

This one takes a LONG time to "get."

In a cooperative community each member agrees to share their positive and negative feelings with each other, and there is strict protocol on how to do so, in the spirit of all the other rules.

For a negative feeling you ask the person, "John? I have a resentment for you, will you hear it?" And then John can answer one of two things: 1) Yes, I will hear you, or 2) No, I will not hear you now, but I promise to hear you at such and such a timed.

You must agree to hear the person, but if for whatever reason you are not up for it at the time you are asked, you may search to find a mutually agreeable time. AGREEABLE time. You cannot use your "not now but later" card as a power play.


You are in no way obligated, in a cooperative community, to validate the resentment, nor do one single thing about it. ALL you must do is agree to HEAR it. Then, you answer, "I hear you," and the subject is CLOSED for the time being. It is not the time to reciprocate. By agreeing to cooperate with this person initially, you are further agreeing to not turn tables and air all your resentments just because "they started it." You must initiate this process with them at another time.

Then, all feelings must be presented without blame or obligation to the person. It is simply an "I" statement.

When you _____________________, I feel ________________________, being careful to avoid, "you make me feel" because nobody makes us feel anything, it is all our choice how we feel.


When I say to you, "Good morning," and you don't respond, I feel ignored and resentful.

When the garbage is overflowing and you don't take it out, I feel angry.

When I ask you a question and you turn up the volume on the TV instead of answering me, I feel the need to f'ing kill you.

FOR EXAMPLE, not that I would know ANYTHING about any of these scenarios.

There is something about sharing a positive feeling with another that pushes many a scarcity button. Some belief we've instilled in each other that says, "If I praise you, there will be less praise in the world for me."

To share a stroke, all the same rules apply and the format is identical.

"Joe? I have a stroke for you, will you hear it?" And Joe may or may not agree to hear it at that time. Now, everyone says initially, "Who doesn't want to hear something nice said about them?" But if you dig down another layer, you'll realize that LOTS of times we are so conditioned to hear negative, that hearing positive can feel miserably uncomfortable. And besides, we have been trained in this culture to dismiss all compliments, in the name of humility. It is the harder of the two to hear, and respond simply, "I hear you," than the other for many, many, people. It takes a ton of practice.

I realize I'm sleep deprived and overly caffeinated while I'm hammering out this post. Please ask any clarifying questions you have in your comments, and I'll respond back in the comment section.

Readers, I have a stroke for you, will you hear it?

Yes? Good!

When you read my blog, I feel deeply grateful.


Jerri said...

Will you hear this one, Carrie?


Your willingness to learn and to teach is endearing and inspiring.

Anonymous said...

I have a stroke for you, when you write a post, I am so happy, because I love reading it.

I think this one it tough, 100% because there is always the people pleaser part in me, that I have worked so hard on, but have more work to do. Hurt feelings and all that.

Maddy said...

How can anyone resist a positive spin?
Best wishes

Anonymous said...

I liked this, a very good reminder.

La La said...

I have a stroke for you, too. When you write about things about that are important for us to consider (which is always), I feel respected and challenged to be a better human being.

Thanks for being YOU!

Love ya.

Michelle O'Neil said...

Okay, I love it all but can't do "stroke," can we use another word?

Billy Squire.

Drama Mama said...

I have a stroke for you.

You might singlehandedly save my marriage with your wisdom.

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

Ah Michelle -- when you say you can't do "stroke", my mind goes off in places that a single, unattached mother of four has no business letting her mind go.

I know I'm breaking the "rules" by not asking, AND I just HAVE to say, "When I re-met you, I felt re-focused and inspired." Thank you! You are a blessing.

Terry Whitaker said...

These are all so incredibly difficult--but so important. Thank you.