Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Self-Awareness Wheel - Part Two in My Response to Anne

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As promised to my online students, here is another tool that I have been using recently to explain what happens if we skip some of the steps in processing life's many events. Click on the image to see the full-size version.

What you see in the wheel is what happens when a person with lower self-esteem experiences a "frustration signal" - they will often go from 1 to 2, and then immediately to 6, without truly taking time to respond to the event. Remember E+R=O from part one of this answer...

Very often, prolonged periods of frustration such as what one might experience after a loved one suffers a heart attack, stroke, or is stricken with some other debilitating illness, will contribute to people making poor choices, and forgetting to go through the full cycle. So this is where the TSA model comes in handy. It reminds people of what we need to do when faced with frustrating circumstances.

Think: What is happening? What does it mean? How does this event make me feel? What do I want to see happen? What can I do to get myself as close to my desired outcome as possible?

Say: If the event is important enough to do something about, start be expressing how you feel. (Remember that you must first identify and classify your feelings so that you can express yourself clearly and accurately - in order to avoid minimization or escalation of your frustration). Use assertive language - "I feel... because..." or "I think, I need, I want, I believe..." Take ownership of what is yours - don't blame others for your feelings.

Ask: Ask for a response so you can begin the dialogue that may lead to resolution of the issue. I say that it "MAY" lead to resolution, because you cannot control what other people do or say. All you can do is ask them to participate in the process of resolution. If they choose not to, at least you have expressed yourself so that they are aware of how their behaviour affects you. It is important to note - and I will probably discuss this more in a future blog - that the primary objective of expressing and releasing anger is for the physical and mental health benefits that it affords YOU! You do this so that you don't end up with heart disease or asthma, or cancer or ulcers. If you manage to get your desired outcome - 100%, that is gravy. Again, I'll save that discussion for another blog entry, but it is important to know. Lastly, once you ask for input, you must be ready to listen. Then the process begins again, because the other party may say something that causes you more frustration and the TSA cycle / and the Self Awareness cycle must repeat itself until you achieve resolution of some kind.

Any questions? You know how to find me! Post a comment here on this site, or students from TAPE can contact me via the regular channels as posted on the TAPE site.