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I was at a holiday party a number of years ago. The hosts had just undergone kitchen renovations and were recalling for all of us how much hassle they had gone through to complete the remodel. They pointed out how a particular electrical outlet had caused so much trouble. You see, they had finished that section of the room already when an inspector came in and said that they must have an outlet in that location. Then they had to get an electrician, apply for a new permit, have another inspection, et cetera, and it delayed the project for several weeks. Everyone, while eating their crudités and sipping their nog, was saddened and empathizing with them and their struggles.
That’s when I decided to say, “Yeah, and wouldn’t it be ironic if that’s the outlet that shorted out and burned your whole house down?”
You could feel the air pressure in the room drop as everyone gasped at the comment! I must’ve turned every shade of red. I was horribly embarrassed as these kind people who invited me to their party felt as if I had just hexed them.
Brené Brown in her TED talk in Kansas City called this foreboding joy. In her research, she posed a scenario of a family riding in their car on their way to have dinner at Grandma’s house. It was a perfect evening with light snowfall and the kids in the back seat were dancing to Jingle Bells playing on the radio. “What happens next?” she asked. 75-80% of the people surveyed came up with a fatalistic outcome of a car crash or a cut scene to the oncologist. 75-80%!!
It is nice to know, and also terrifying, that I am not the only person with such a fatalistic worldview. What Brené Brown aptly calls “foreboding joy”, is the sense that we have that when things are going well, something bad is about to happen. And how could we not have this sense after this past year?
It’s very easy in the current climate of events to get trapped in what is called the Dreaded Drama Triangle, as illustrated above. I find that when I have the sense of “foreboding joy”, I am playing one of those roles, being the Rescuer, the Persecutor, or the Victim. This Dreaded Drama Triangle is strangely seductive because as I act out a role, I unintentionally force others around me to assume the other roles. I can’t very well play the victim without a good persecutor, and without fail, I’ll come across just the rescuer I need, or at least someone to commiserate with. And if I can’t find one of my needed, complimentary roles in my immediate surroundings, I will pull one out of the news or social media. I will find a way, whatever it takes, to validate my disempowered worldview.
So, how do we get from the fatalistic, victimizing, disempowered state to The Empowerment Dynamic? As you can see in the illustration above, it begins with the transforming question, “What do I really want?” Anyone who has coached with me can attest to this being the first question I ask. Through this question, we can discover how our victim can become our creator, our persecutor can become our challenger, and our rescuer can become our coach.
Take a moment to ask yourself, what do you really want?
If you found that question difficult to answer, then you’re not alone. It’s actually a pretty hard question for most people to answer. This question alone can take up almost an entire 2-hour Coaching or Centering session. Why is that so? Well, going back to Brené Brown, it is all about vulnerability. To vulnerably share what you really want for yourself is scary business, and in many places, including family systems, that level of personal exposure can lead to heartbreak and disappointment.
Isn’t it interesting, though, that the very thing that can create the deepest wound is what we need to feel the most empowered? Is it any wonder why most of us choose to stay in the drama triangle? The possibility of getting hurt keeps most of us from exploring what we really want. But, with that we also surrender our passion and joy.
If you’re struggling to find passion and joy, feeling disempowered, or just numb, schedule a Centering Session with me. You don’t have to do anything hard by yourself. In our 2-hour session, we will create a safe place for you to explore what you really want for yourself and set up a way for you to get it.
You can “level-up” your empowerment by taking my online course Go for Your Goals, which includes a 2-hour Centering Session with me.
I peacefully empower people to live the life of their dreams. That’s what I do! I can help you, too.