April 18th – “Remind yourself that nobody is a mind reader. If you’re not getting what you want, maybe you just need to ask!”

Directness is one of the qualities that those who are close to me appreciate. It’s also the thing that’s gotten me in trouble with people, so I’ve been trying to keep a low profile. I want to stay focused on my work until the end of June. I don’t have energy to deal with the repercussions of my directness, so I’m doing the best I can to let things slide. That is proving to be much easier said than done.

Mercury has been in retrograde since April 9th. If you believe in such things, which I suspect you might if you’re reading this blog, it means that life may be a little harder to navigate. It’s generally not a good time to sign contracts, make decisions, start something new, etc. Basically, things will not turn out well! For fun, I checked the calendar in 2013. Mercury was in retrograde when I applied for and started at the Worst Job Ever. I should have known better!

My monthly horoscope cautions that, “Mercury is retrograde in Taurus and your partnership house until April 20th, which could muck up messages with your closest peeps. Be extra cautious about signing contracts or agreeing to any collaborations.

This period has proven to be difficult time for me. I tried to organize an event with my friend, but it fell apart. Just to be sure, I checked the email she sent and it was done on April 9th, the first day of Mercury in retrograde!

I have also had some poorly communicated and received messages with those closest to me. In one instance, my partner called me grumpy. I did not respond in the way that he wanted me to, so he assumed that I was in a bad mood. I wasn’t, but one second after he called me that, I flipped out and started yelling at him. I tried to explain to him (still yelling, of course) that he had just created a situation when there wasn’t one, but none of the words came out right. I sounded like a maniac.

This happened again with someone else a few days later. I didn’t fit into his/her reality and he/she came up with a label for me so that I could make sense in his/her world.  I didn’t want to sound like maniac, so I bit my tongue.

Being labelled for something I am NOT is something I cannot stand for. I HATE it. It’s right up there with others telling me how I feel and think.

Labels for people are offensive. That’s how stereotypes are created. If you take one aspect of person (whether it is true or not) and define them based on that characteristic, it creates a false fixed truth. In strips away any individual identity and puts people in boxes to be judged and categorized.

As much as I don’t like being a textbook psychoanalytic example, I think my highly emotional reactions are influenced by my childhood experiences. Among many other forms of torture, my family liked to call me “fat cow” when I wasn’t. I was one of the youngest kids in my family, so everyone thought that it was their job to tease me incessantly. It was like a 17 year hazing ritual and would have continued into adulthood had I not stopped participating in family activities.

I do not respond well when people say blatant lies about me. I don’t logically lay out the evidence that I have to disprove the lies. Instead, I have knee jerk reactions that can only escalate situations.  If I were in a Lifetime movie, I would be the main character who gets manipulated and driven insane by the real murderer. The last scene would fade away with a shot of me sitting in prison for a crime I didn’t commit while I am repeating to myself, “I didn’t do it. I didn’t do it…”

At the moment, I’m not getting what I want and I’m not going to ask for it. I agree that no one is a mind reader, but I don’t think it’s the right time to be forward. The horoscope says “maybe” I should ask. I’ll take that as a sign that I shouldn’t.

It’s a good thing that April 20th is just 2 days away because I don’t think I’ll last until June. With time, these problems could work itself out without my direct intervention. If not, I will tell you exactly what’s on my mind!

December 6th – “You’ll notice that people are operating a bit more from their guts and a lot less from the ‘shoulds’ they were taught as a child.”

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Like many children are taught, I was instructed to be polite. I should manage my words so that I could show respect and courtesy to others.

Unfortunately, doing what we “should” do can sometimes cause more disharmony than harmony.

Miscommunication happens when we don’t say what we mean, which can often happen out of our desire to be polite. We mask our true feelings and intentions which could stem from fear, avoidance, or habit. This is especially true when we are at work. Somehow we rationalize to ourselves that our jobs are at stake, so we can’t ever express any of our true feelings! It’s a real shame that we spend 40 hours a week living so fearfully! How can we be surprised when no one understands what we’re saying!

Something as simple as, “Come drop by my house anytime!” can lead to big misunderstandings. When people say that, do they really mean that they want to have me over for dinner on Sunday? Probably not.

I have little energy to spend on being indirect and polite in situations where I need to be direct, so I kicked that habit long ago. It might not be your thing, but I’ve found life to be so much easier when everyone says what they mean.

Here are my tips on how to be direct:

  1. Use clear and precise words. Don’t let anything be ambiguous. For example, “It’s me, not you” might sound like an inoffensive break up line, but believe it or not, it leaves room for hope! That person might think that you’re just going through something that’s temporary. He/she may still be waiting for you to come around! This line is overused and indirect. If you’re not into someone, just say, “I am not interested in you.” Isn’t that the truth?
  2. Keep it simple. The more words you throw in the mix, the higher probability you’ll have for misinterpretation! Get straight to the point.
  3. Be mindful of your tone/body language: It’s been said that communication is done 70% with body language, 23% with tone, and only 7% by words! Be aware of how you’re saying what you’re saying. If you want someone to take your message seriously, saying it casually over a few beers won’t do the job!
  4. Don’t delay. If you need to have a difficult conversation with someone, don’t wait around for a “good time.” There’s NEVER a good time for bad news. The longer you wait, the worse it’s going to make YOU feel. Why bottle things up when you can just get it out in the open? If you wait too long, fear will keep growing until it turns into something more damaging, like resentment! When you finally do have that conversation, you won’t be able to hear what anyone else has to say. It will be too overwhelming. A friend once asked me for a BIG favor. I said “yes” out of politeness. I brooded about it for a day. I was upset, confused, and resentful that she would even ask me for such a favor. Had I said no in the beginning, I wouldn’t have had to suffer! I called her the next morning and apologized for saying yes to something I wasn’t ready to do. As much as I let her down, she accepted my decision. I was relieved, happy, and free!

Being direct doesn’t mean that you have to be mean or rude. It also doesn’t mean that you have to be direct about everything!  Directness just has to do with expressing your opinion when it’s important to do so.