So we’re talking about interpersonal effectiveness in group right now. Two long words to describe how to get what you need and want. Or conversely you can describe it as how to say no to what you don’t need or don’t want. Other words you can use are how to manipulate a situation to your best advantage.
The facilitator of my group said that manipulate doesn’t have to be a bad word. I had a hard time swallowing that at first. But then I looked at it another way. I guess in a manner of speaking we are manipulating the world around us all the time. Scheduling what we’ll do when, who we’ll see, who we won’t. We work towards gaining the things we want, plan what to get rid of or ignore. All of these things are a kind of manipulation. I think when it becomes a bad word is if you are subversive about it, or hurtful and deceitful
We all maneuver through our lives. Some of us are very skillful. We’ve learned highly adaptive ways of dealing with the world while others of us have not been so fortunate. The fact that the brain can be changed, molded and in some cases stunted leaves us all vulnerable. An abused person develops completely different from a non-abused person. A loved person has certain advantages over an unloved person. That is not to say that we can’t overcome obstacles planted in our way. In fact it means quite the opposite. We can train or manipulate our brain chemistry by learning and practicing a new way of being. We can work hard at finding different ways to handle the trials of our lives. We can adjust our course, choose a new journey, and seek a smoother path. The best thing to do is find support, find information, and find all of the things you need to accomplish whatever goals you set for yourselves. Manipulate the world around you in an honest, gentle way and be kind to yourself.
So manipulate away. It’s not such a bad word after all.