If you don’t like tuna, don’t welcome tuna.

Empowerment in Choice: Deciding What You Accept from Others

In the complex mobile of human interaction, we are often faced with an array of comments and behaviors from others. These interactions can range from upbeat and supportive to critical and discouraging. The fascinating aspect of this intricate dance is that we can decide what we accept from others. We must choose how we feel about the offered words or actions, whether it’s a comment or behavior. This ability to shape our emotional responses and perspectives is a remarkable facet of personal empowerment and growth.

The Power of Perception

I had the pleasure of having Apo Pohjolainen guiding us through the secrets of selling. We had a brilliant exercise to give something to our opponents, while the opponent could decide what it was. And it was supposed to be something they really liked. There were Rolexes and new Eleiko weights, but most of all, the reactions and emotions were worth following.

Not soon after that, I had a super good tip from my Leadership Compass training coach Renata Pagni. I told her about my temper and, depending on the subject occasional tendency to fight fire with fire. So what did she do? She introduced me to tuna. Damn, I just hate canned tuna. The essence of the exercise was to think about unwanted or unjustified comments or actions, such as canned tuna. I wouldn’t accept that in any situation, so why should I accept the “tuna -comment”? I, and I only can decide if I will accept that.

Simple, right? Why didn’t I think about that before? Getting both of the exercises in my mind, I felt like I had a set of new tools for me to use.

At the core of this ability to choose what we accept lies the power of perception. We are the architects of our emotional reality, capable of weaving interpretations based on our beliefs, experiences, and personal values. A comment that one person might perceive as harmless could profoundly affect another. Similarly, a behavior that seems insignificant to some might be important to someone else. Recognizing this diversity in perceptions can be the first step in cultivating a sense of agency in determining what we accept from others.

Understanding Triggers and Boundaries

It’s essential to be attuned to our triggers and boundaries to navigate this terrain effectively. Triggers are those aspects of comments or behaviors that evoke strong emotional responses due to past experiences or sensitivities. The ones that push you to fight fire with fire. Recognizing these triggers empowers us to respond more consciously rather than react impulsively. On the other hand, setting and maintaining boundaries establishes the framework within which we allow others to interact with us. Healthy boundaries protect against negativity, ensuring we only accept interactions that contribute positively to our well-being.

Taking Responsibility for Emotional Responses

It’s important to remember that while we cannot control the words and actions of others, we can, and we should learn how to control our emotional responses. Acknowledging that our feelings result from our interpretation and perception, we take ownership of our emotional experiences. This realization allows us to accept or reject the emotional impact of someone else’s words or behavior. It’s like holding a filter through which we process the incoming information, letting go of what doesn’t serve us, and embracing what enhances our growth.

Cultivating Self-Compassion

As we navigate this journey of determining what we accept from others, cultivating self-compassion is crucial. We are all human, susceptible to moments of vulnerability and moments of strength. Acknowledging that specific comments or behaviors might affect us more deeply than we’d like is okay. Self-compassion reminds us that our emotional responses are valid and that we deserve understanding and kindness from ourselves, especially when facing challenges.

The Path to Authentic Empowerment

In the grand theater of life, we play multiple roles — friend, colleague, partner, and more. However, the most critical role we assume is that of the curator of our emotional well-being. The ability to decide what we accept from others expresses authentic empowerment. It recognizes our agency in shaping our emotional experiences and fostering an environment that aligns with our growth and well-being.

Ultimately, it’s worth remembering that the power to choose what we accept instead of fighting or arguing isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a testament to our strength and resilience. By embracing this power, we elevate ourselves beyond the limitations of external influence and embrace the limitless potential of our inner journey.

So if you don’t like tuna, learn how to recognize it and decide not to accept it on your plate!