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Are You Inviting Dripping Garbage?
by Rhoberta Shaler, PhD

What would happen if a friend came to visit you and brought a large brown bag of dripping garbage along? Would you let the friend and the garbage into your house? Then, what would happen if you did let the friend and the garbage in and, then, that friend picked up that bag and emptied it on your head? What would you do? What would you say?

Mahatma Gandhi put it this way: "I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet."!

We often have conversations with others that are very similar to having someone’s dripping garbage poured over us, don’t we? Some people are chronic complainers, some incessant whiners, some are filled with anger, and some make a lifestyle of negativity. These are all forms of “dripping garbage”.

There are many ways to let someone know your boundaries. If your boundaries exclude being “dumped on”, be sure to tell your friends, or relatives. Use language that speaks about yourself and refrains from using the word “you”. This helps the other person to hear you. Here’s an example:

“I have learned that my day goes a lot better when I take action to change the things I don’t like rather than complaining about them. I find complaining pulls me down.” (First round)

If the other person continues complaining as a lifestyle:

“I have decided to let people know what I need and want in my life. I want to fill my life with friends and activities that help me to feel and see life in positive ways. I am moving away from people who choose to see things negatively.” (Second round)

Third round is simple…..ACT! Do what you said you were going to do…spend very little, if any, time with them. If you do spend time with them and they complain, tell them that it is time for you to go!

You may be thinking about older folks in your family, perhaps, and wondering how this fits with your perceived need or your real desire to spend time with them. Well, in my life, it worked beautifully and new mutual respect was gained. It wasn’t easy and it didn’t happen overnight, but it happened. I was able to spend time with that person and the complaining and fault-finding was significantly reduced. Reduced to a level I could definitely live with.

For today, think about sending messages to folks in your life who want to walk through your mind with their dirty feet.

© Rhoberta Shaler, PhD, Founder & Director, The Optimize! Institute, Escondido, CA All rights reserved.

Expert facilitator, Dr. Rhoberta Shaler, makes it easier to talk about difficult things. As an international speaker, facilitator, author and coach, she works with organizations, executives & entrepreneurs who want to master the ‘people skills’ that grease the wheels of business & life. Visit her website for ezines, teleseminars, books & CDs, free articles, online community, and a half-hour free coaching consultation.



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