Most of us were raised and have lived our lives on a hefty dose of External Control Psychology. Our parents, neighbors, teachers, bosses knew what was good and right for us and told us what to do. They lovingly (or not so lovingly) criticized and corrected us in an effort to help us improve. “Constructive Criticism.” Right. As children, when we asked “why,” an adult often answered, “because I said so,” wiping out any chance of discussion.
William Glasser’s Choice Theory is opposite to External Control Psychology. The philosophy and language of Choice Theory invite conversation and therefore understanding. If people can work together to come up with a mutually-satisfying solution, both feel heard and validated. The bond between them tightens.
Here’s an example of each way to approach an issue:
Parent Using External Control Psychology: “You never wear your boots in bad weather. I’m tired of telling you over and over to put them on. You get sick, then I have to miss work to take care of you. You never think about anybody but yourself!” (Deadly habits: criticizing, nagging, blaming)
Parent using Choice Theory: “I’m concerned about your having wet feet or becoming sick in this bad weather. Let’s talk about how we can both be satisfied with the boot situation. Tell me, is there a reason why you don’t like to wear your boots?”(Caring habits: listening, respecting, negotiating to a win-win)
One approach assaults and diminishes. The other respects and empowers.
In dealing with others, we need to try eliminating the “Seven Deadly Habits” of criticizing, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, punishing, or rewarding to control (bribing).
Practicing the “Seven Caring Habits” of supporting, encouraging, listening, accepting, trusting, respecting, and negotiating differences (to a win-win) makes a huge difference in relationships.
Instead of pushing them away, we want to keep those whom we love and need close to us. Which of the deadly habits might you cut out today? Which of the caring habits might you begin to use even more than you do now?
~ xoA ~