Both are perfectly fine, and valid, but you have to be honest with yourself about your ultimate goal. You also have to be honest with the people to whom you go for help about this ultimate goal. If you are not honest, you will just foster resentment, and possibly damage relationships along the way.
We all have areas that could use updating. Especially if we want to expand our lives. We may not see the areas themselves, because they are in our blind spots, but we definitely act out the symptoms of those areas. This means that even if we can’t see them, others definitely do. We vocalize those symptoms regularly in general conversation, but many times don’t realize we are doing it.
I worked with someone who told me, during one of our sessions, that they do not have many friends because “People flee from them like the plague.” While trying to help them with changes they could make, I pointed these words out to them. They said that they had been kidding and did not really mean it. The problem is that “I have very few friends because people flee from me like the plague.” is not something about which one would joke. Not even if they are rather self-deprecating. Those words described perfectly the symptom that they experience with interpersonal relationships, and came out during an unguarded moment. They could see the symptoms clearly. What they were blind to is their behaviors. The actions they take which repel people from them.
After several attempts at showing them their blind spots, it became clear that this person truly did not want to change. I realized that I was not going to get anywhere, and that our work needed to terminate. I sent this person an email apologizing, and telling them that I had been wrong to try to alter their behavior, because it was clear they were happy where they were. Since that was the case, I should not have tried to help them modify anything about their behavior. Their response to this communication was the most telling of all. They said “Nope, not going to work. Reverse psychology does not work on me.”
Their fear of change had changed my ending our work together into a manipulative tactic. This is a very powerful defense mechanism.
Their response had also shown clearly that they were not truly interested in making any changes. They just wanted the attention that goes along with having someone to vent to. Or commiserate with. They liked the idea of someone seeing behind all the “bad” to the person they truly are. Except the “real person they are” was being clearly acted out and was repelling everyone else.
Their reaction was very typical of someone whose ego is so afraid of being confronted that they will over-react when it is uncalled for. Their ego sees this as danger, and something that must be avoided at all costs. This is a very normal reaction when someone is not ready for change.
In our case, this was a mismatch, because I work with people who are truly ready to change. I am committed to transformation, and work with those who also share that commitment. There are many coaches, therapists and psychologists out there who are happy to lend an ear, and listen to the same stories over and over. That is a very useful skill, and helpful to those who just need to talk. I am not one of those coaches, so out of integrity I ended our work. Without realizing it, that person did the same when they responded by telling me that “Reverse psychology will not work on them.”
This example is the reason that you need to be honest not only with yourself, but with those who are trying to help you. If you are not honest about your needs, and expectations, a mismatch will most likely occur. This will lead to completely unnecessary frustration on both sides.
Whether in a family situation, romantic relationship, work dynamic, friendship, or coaching, be honest about your needs. You will find those people who are willing, ready, and able to help you accomplish them more easily. There is nothing wrong with what you need. And there are definitely people who are committed to the same goals as you.
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