My family and I were shopping while on vacation in a Latin country. I asked the price of a handcrafted item and I was quoted twenty dollars for it. As I began to negotiate on the price for buying four of them I noticed embarrassment on my eight year old son’s face. Once the shopkeeper agreed to sell them or ten dollars each, I also saw how surprised his face turned. Later on, in the hotel room, I asked him about his experience of shopping in the local bazaar. Smilingly he replied:“how come we do not negotiate like this in Los Angeles?”
The fact is that we are negotiating everywhere, even in our bedrooms. Couples are making agreements all the time, but mostly do not realize it or do it with hostility and frustration. Wherever there is a conflict of interest, negotiation is the only way to make the best outcomes. In our modern cultures we are made to believe negotiation equals invading some-one’s boundaries; however, when core concerns of each side are addressed, positive emotions are developed and trust is further established. Without clear expression of emotional, physical, or intellectual position, our feelings are not being effectively addressed. Carrying such unexpressed feelings result in negative emotions such as anger, fear, guilt, or embarrassment which in turn trigger negative actions or “me-me” focused bargaining.
In any negotiation when the primary interest is only in self-promotion at the price of defeating one another, we notice disagreements prevail. The insecurities and mistrusts in the past histories of the parties are often the source of break down in relationships as the rising emotions are more powerful than the facts of the situation. Reactivity jeopardizes any cooperative action that may lead to win-win results.Emotions motivate us to act and keep us working hard to settle differences, yet problems emerge when we do not understand our emotional state.
In my practice of marriage counseling I often notice how lack of clarity in understanding emotions can disturb peace and love. A husband and wife can happily receive what they desire from each other, only if they can clearly express their emotions without devaluing or demoting other. Feelings are the building blocks of emotions and cause actions. To act with integrity and produce win-win conditions we need to understand these basic elements (CARS):
Confidence: Self-confidence is the foundation of trusting relationships. Any person that functions with fear and anxiety or lives in sorrow and loss is doubtful about his or her ability to be joyful. The reality of where we stand on every situation needs to be consistently addressed. What happened in the past or what may happen in the future should not decrease or increase our confidence in our ability to cope with our problems in the here and now.
Appreciation: Any added value to a subject increases its worth and each person’s sense of self-worth starts by how he or she is appreciated and valued as a child. Later on it is through learning and experiencing life that one is able to feel more or less worthy. When one sincerely appreciates the work or behavior of other, the mutual acceptance and appreciation increases a positive flow in the relationship.
Responsibility: Our thoughts or mental attitudes are considered the actual cause of external situations or physical occurrences. According to the patterns of our actions and behaviors we build our futures; that makes us responsible for everything that initiates from us. Being responsible is setting intention and focusing on the necessary steps to achieve our goals, without jeopardizing others’ boundaries.
Selection: In every process there are always choices to be made but making the best selection is an on-going challenge. We need information and awareness to make responsible choices. With constant flow of information around us at any given moment it is difficult to choose, but by communicating and categorizing general information we can properly arrive at the best choice.
Sincere attention to reality and awareness of what is going on at the moment allow us to choose wisely, act responsibly, enjoy with appreciation, and gain confidence in developing all our relationships. I negotiated and happily bought valuable handcrafted items for my friends at a reasonable price and the shopkeeper appreciated the opportunity to sell four of them at once. We valued each other’s positions and just focused on the win-win outcome of the transaction as we acted respectfully, responsibly and confidently.
Let’s enjoy the holidays to the fullest by awareness. Let’s not be afraid of exploring our emotions and make the best deals in our relationships. Let’s make the coming year how we would like it to be: WIN-WIN.
Dr. Sadigh’s one on one sessions, group classes, seminars, and integrative programs specialize in pointing out the “blind spots”. He enhances his client’s ability to desensitize old worries, process new understandings, and replace negative outlooks with a positive attitude in service of success and happiness. You can listen to Dr. Sadigh live on blogtalkradio.com/drdaniel every Thursday from 9 pm to 10 pm. Visit Dr. Sadigh@ www.drsadigh.com