Being too demanding of ourselves and others can be a real downer.
You know the person:
- Every time you talk with them you feel a little stressed out afterward.
- They don't inspire you as much as they make you feel like you now have a bunch of stuff to do after talking to them.
- Your heartbeat rises a little when they call on the phone.
- You want to avoid the meeting that you have set up with them.
- Even just being around them is a little stressful. Not a lot, just a little.
Unfortunately we can be those people with others without even knowing it.
If somebody is delaying your meeting with them, or hasn't returned your calls recently, or seems a little on edge when you talk, it's possible that this could be the culprit.
Becoming Less Demanding
Here a 4 quick ways to be less demanding:
1. Don't Start the Conversation With a List
If you start out a conversation with a list of things you want the other person to do, that's a one-way street. "Okay, so I want you to do this, this and this. Okay? Great!" It might feel great for you, but that pretty much sucks on the other end.
2. Seek First to Understand
This is a timeless lesson from Covey's 7 Habits. When we approach a conversation truly wanting to understand the other person they will notice. It's actually pretty rare in this day and age to find someone who really listens. Be that person.
3. Focus on the Other Person
Throughout the conversation think about what will make the other person happy. What are they telling you that they want?
Repeat back to them what you think they're saying would make their life happier, more easy, more enjoyable. If it's possible for you to assist, suggest ways that you might be able to help them get those things.
4. Have Fun
Ideally we hang out with people that inspire us and that we have fun being around. Certainly that's why other people would want to be around us.
If it's not very fun for either person, then something really needs to change. Laugh. Go outside. Change it up. Play. Walk. Hike. Go somewhere nice for lunch. Enjoy each other's company. Call just to say hey.
Doing these things is not only a gift to the other person it's also a gift to us. Here are some of the obvious benefits:
- Unplanned conversations can be fun, hilarious and surprising
- Truly listening to another person is very rewarding, allows us to reflect and open up, and makes us happier
- Helping another person feels great and returns to us many times over
- Who doesn't like having fun? Just having fun is fun!
You, Yourself and You
These are also gifts we can give ourselves more directly and even alone.
We can make less lists for ourselves and enjoy life more moment to moment, take time to meditate and listen to ourselves more deeply, focus on our dreams and allow ourselves time to reflect on what really matters to us, and we can go out to lunch, watch comedies, play outside with our pets, walk and hike alone or enjoy our own company.
I know that sounds kind of funny, but it's true.
When is the last time you enjoyed your own company?
Don't try all of these suggestions at once, just try one the next time you talk with someone. Or take today (Thanksgiving) to write to someone with these things in mind.