"Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say Without Being Mean When You Say It" ~ Meryl Runion Rose                                ShoppingCart Plum NB 50

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Effective Communication Skill Blog

Alchemist in Meryl.150Communication skills are great in theory, but how are they in practice? This Effective Communication Skill Blog shows you how to walk the SpeakStrong talk. I'm Meryl Runion Rose. Join our conversation about Communication Alchemy, and saying what you mean and meaning what you say... without being mean when you say it.

The Communication Alchemist is IN. Are you IN too?

A Passive-Aggressive Firing

key lock woman 300On one level it was no surprise. On another, it was stunning. Betty learned that her previous supervisor gave up on her on her second day. Betty's manager set her up for failure. 

How cruel!

The discovery matches the behavior. When Betty asked for help, the manager literally turned her back. Betty was thrown in with customers with little to no guidance. If the manager replied to a question at all, it was to say something like, "I told you that already."

Betty quit after two weeks.

Betty has a new job and a great attitude toward her previous manager. She's grateful for the opportunity to SpeakStrong. I admire Betty - and so do her new employers.

I know the feeling that comes with that kind of passive-aggressive behavior. I've been in situations where I tried to open a door while the person I struggled to engage with was covertly slamming it shut. Often they hold a key - like the awareness of their subterfuge - but they won't share it. I find myself wondering if I'm crazy. Just a little honesty - like - "I want out, so I'm trying to get you to end this" - would save a lot of misery. At least in Betty's case, the subterfuge was overt enough for Betty to be pretty sure what was going on. 

Don't you wish people would just say what they mean and mean what they say, without being mean when they say it? Don't you wish we could earnestly put everything on the table and work toward the best possible outcome together? I do. And I love it when I can. 

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The Need to Be Seen Can Make Us Invisible

cheerleadermaster 300Seth Godin wrote:

"A recent article outlines how NFL cheerleaders are paid less than minimum wage, disrespected and treated quite poorly. So why do they put up with this lousy behavior?"

His answer is, the need to be seen

The article makes it clear that the women are molded into a predetermined image. I think it's so much that they really aren't seen at all.   

I sometimes find that my visibility from my book PowerPhrases keeps me from being seen for who I am now. For example, people often see me as a Power Babe which I'm not in any usual sense. They speak to their image of me, and there is no room for them to see the actual me. 


This morning I shared something that excites me with Bob. He totally got it. It excited him, too. We both saw it, and we saw each other. There is no comparison of being seen for who we were or for a static image of ourselves, and being seen for real. 

Where do you feel really seen?


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What Are Your Graduating From and To This Spring?

mona lisa graduate 300Graduations are everywhere. Friends, neighbors and service providers have kids who are graduating or are graduating themselves.

I notice that those with graduating teens are experiencing a graduation themselves. It's a new stage of life for parents and children both. 

It feels like a new stage of life for me, too.

My illness has been my teacher. My dreams put my malaise on the same par as The Maharishi. Yesterday, I wondered if on some level I needed and chose to be unwell in order to remake my life on the deepest level. 

My first question is, what does my illness want me to learn? What have the teachings and gifts from it been?

That list is long. I came up with most of the items on my list by using the phrase:

  • Because I'm sick, I get to...

So just to name a few, I get to get new clothes that fit me physically and personally. I get to drop my superwoman personna that had me doing more and carrying loads that wore me out. I get to be human. I get to spend time cooking, learning about herbs, and developing my kitchen alchemy. I get to speak a deeper level of truth with Bob, even when it's hard for him to hear. I get to stop supporting Bob in ways that deplete me. The list goes on.

My second question is, can I live these teachings and receive these gifts without needing to be sick? 

One phrase for that question is:

  • I don't need to be sick to...

If I consciously choose to live the teachings of my illness, I think it would unravel anything I might be doing unconsciously that prolongs the illness.

Have I graduated? I don't know, but it sure feels like I have. But like all graduations, it's really just the beginning.

Happy graduation season to you and yours. May your transitions be liberating. 


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The Managerial Mindset that Wouldn't Let Go

Do you ever feel like the pottery teacher below? Or like Sally Forth in the cartoon?

Sally Forth Manager OR

Sometimes it's hard to switch gears when we need to. 

We can't "do" play like we do work - or not successfully, anyway. We can't "do" love the same way we do work either.

Sally turns her leisure into a project just as many of us turn relationships into projects - which sucks all the fun and life out of them. Don't do that. Don't let your personal life become the victim of a managerial mindset that won't let go. 


It's Saturday. I'm sinking into silence and wholeness. I thought it would be fun to post this. I'm listening to some amazing songs on my Anna Nalick Pandora station as I type. 

It's the kind of day that asks little of my management skills. 


Happy Birthday, Angela. You are a the perfect co-traveler to "turn the wheel" and "throw some pots" with on days like today. Thanks for playing with me.


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"Resentment is like drinking poison hoping THEY will die."

Stifled Resentment Silent 300One of my favorite authors, Marie Louise Von Franz, teaches that mature feeling doesn't mean an absence of negativity or angst. It does imply an ability to handle all kinds of emotions constructively.

Like resentment.

I have always liked the quote "resentment is like drinking poison hoping THEY will die." I've been noodling that statement lately. 

Of course the absurdity of harming ourselves to punish others is obvious in the statement. It's clear we harm ourselves more with resentment than we harm others.

And yet, I also know that when I sense unspoken resentment toward me, it does kill something in me, as well as in the relationship. It's a slow, painful death. So if someone desires to punish me with resentment, it works. If they refuse to own up to it, I get a bit crazy until I know I must disengage.


I used to feel a lot of resentment. Not so much anymore, but when it does show its ugly face, I use my sense of resentment as a tool to go deeper in relationships. One of my teachers says that resentment is anger served cold. Anger has fire, energy and passion. If it can be released, there's hope.

And when I feel resentment, I know there's energy in there somewhere. The question is, "How can I use that energy constructively?"

Powerful stuff, resentment. I strive to live a resentment-free life - not by whitewashing it or ignoring it, but by listening to it and tapping into the energy behind it. 

I believe my feeling function is pretty mature - but when I confess to the feelings I experience, you might not agree. I have hissy-fits, emotional dips, doubts, anger, jealousy - need I continue? It's not what I feel, but what I do when I feel it that is my saving grace. Happily, my husband and inner circle associates understand. They experience and elevate and honor their emotions, too. 

Do you? Where do you feel resentment? How can you let it be a teacher for you? What does it tell you about yourself? What conversations does it suggest you need to have? 

And how can you tap into the underlying fire to create something of value? 


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Why Receptivity Matters More Than Gratitude

Gift NB.300She grabbed small packages of prepared snacks. I tried to show her how to cook nourishing meals for herself so she wouldn't waste time opening so many packages and we could avoid the wasted expense of prepared foods. She kept reaching for the tiny prepackaged foods. I gave up. I cooked for myself. 

This dream offered me an image illustrating what it is like when people don't receive. It's like they won't let you love them.

We talk about gratitude a lot these days. Receptivity comes before gratitude. I had extended myself for her, and she didn't notice.

In real life, she eventually left, taking her metaphorical prepackaged foods with her. She scarcely looked back. She felt no gratitude because she hadn't received. 

She moved on to bigger prepackaged vistas, and I hear she's happy. I am happy for her. 

It's okay. My world is not for everyone. I can still "cook" for myself. Plus, I have lots of friends and associates who like my cooking - both metaphorically and literally. 

I have lots of friends who receive me with gratitude. It's a gift, and I reciprocate that gift. 


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Walking Around Reborn

Phoenix ashes 300Janie went through shoulder surgery. That ordeal was followed by years of debilitating issues with her feet. She referred to her forced confinement as convalescence. "Now I'm out and about...reborn," she told me.

Difficult periods are times of rebirth - or they can be.

I see many people struggle to get back to where they were before the storms hit. I find the wise ones let the dark days transform them. 

Transformed and reborn. I liked the old Janie. The new one is amazing. 


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Not Right, Real.

abacus 300It was a touchy conversation - the kind that could get contentions. This time, the conversation created connection. 

"Can I tell you what you just did right?" she asked.

"I'm not trying to get it right," he replied with tears in his eyes. "I'm just being real."

She understood the distinction. She rephrased her statement. 

"What I really appreciate that you did is..." Her revised phrasing liberated her acknowledgement from a rating context. 

It might sound picky, but we all are sensitive to subtleties like this. The fact is, context changes everything. Language creates contexts that we might not be aware of, but that we respond (or react) to.


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Internal Volcanoes and the Planet Mars

VolcanoThe repair that should have taken five minutes took... five minutes! 

"The planet Mars went direct today," I told Noel, our tech support guy.

"Oh, thank God," he responded.

I didn't know if Noel would have any idea what that meant. Clearly he did.

When I first heard about it, I didn't know what it meant that Mars had been retrograde and was going direct on May 20th. I just knew I felt like I had been living in a pressure cooker and that things seemed stalled. The idea caught my interest. I related experientially to the descriptions - like this one - 

Think of capping a volcano and sending the energy back into the Earth— that's what happens to each of us during this part of Mars' cycle. That's why some folks will explode with frustration and make very poor decisions and moves now, responding with violence and anger instead of patience and dialogue.

That's how I felt yesterday. 

Today is a new day.  Noel and I went downstairs for Bob's computer repairs. The things that should have taken a half hour took... a half hour!


Today IS a new day. My to-do list became a ta-da list. The lid is off the pressure cooker. 

How cool is that? Enjoy the new spring!


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Talking About the Gall Bladder Blues

Medusa 300Bob says the perfect thing when I get mired in the Gall Bladder Blues. He asks:

  • What can I do for you?  

Those words offer support without inflaming me further.

The Gall Bladder Blues make the world a dark and dreary place. I remember the sun, but don't see it. I try not to spread my gloom around, but it's tangible. Bob feels it the minute he walks in the room. Like Perseus relating to Medusa, Bob knows not to look me in the eye lest he be turned to stone.

But also like Perseus, he does look through a mirror. Perseus used his shield to see Medula's reflection. Bob's mirror is in his own heart. That shields him. 

Normally I don't explain my perceptions when I'm at a low. Recently I did. I told Bob, "You're sitting across the table from a woman for whom everything seems wrong right now." He said he'd lay low. I continued, "It's important to understand that there's no way you can make me happy right now, but you're obligated to try."

Instead of speaking from my toxic mindset, I spoke about it. It's a fine line. I know I'm toxic, and I don't want to infect anyone. I also don't want to be completely isolated, either.

I sipped a new herbal tea. The tea I had switched to in the more recent stage of my recovery triggered my Gall Bladder Blues. I hoped this would ease my malaise.

By the end of the conversation, my cup was empty and my Gall Bladder Blues were gone. I saw the sun again. I still had some physical symptoms, but peace was restored inside of me.

Happily, peace was never lost between Bob and myself. 

Bob gets most of the credit for that. He stayed present without drinking the poison himself. He looked at me through the best possible of mirrors and waited. We had a lovely evening together.


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Do I Know You Well Enough to Share What Matters?

Flower Sprial 300It hit Bob and me six months ago that my health issues could actually take me out if we didn't unravel them. That kind of awareness changes a person - and it changes relationships. Only a few people understood that it felt like I was fighting for my life. One well-meaning friend wouldn't let me finish a sentence. She interrupted my attempt to explain what I was going through by pointing out all I have to be grateful for. Yes, I knew and know that, and I am grateful. But no matter how beautiful my home is, I still need to be able to digest my food. One of my blessings is in the people that do understand. 

The healing process is organic, not linear. Every morning last week, when I stepped on the scale, I discovered I had gained another pound! The healing process shifted from repair to strengthening. I celebrated Friday by returning a pair of pants I bought one week before. I explained to the merchant I had gained seven pounds in the week since I got them. She was thrilled for me. Her concern was revealed by the joy she displayed over my progress.

I hadn't spoken of my ordeal to my dance community as a group, but I celebrated my progress again on Saturday by briefly speaking of my struggle and gains. The support was heartwarming. Clearly people had noticed and been concerned. One woman told me she appreciated my mentioning it because she and her husband had noticed, but didn't know me well enough to ask about it. 

To me, if you know someone well enough to worry about something like rapid weight-loss, you know them well enough to ask what's happening with them. Ask and listen deeply to what they say. 

If I were to do it over, I'd address the elephant in the living-room at dance sooner. Did I know them "well enough" to share persoanlly? Who is to say? I will say that I know them much better now, and I like that. 

I still have a long way to go, but last week was well worth celebrating - with the friends who get it, with the community I celebrate life with each week through dance, and with you. 

Where are you holding back from asking or sharing because you don't know someone well enough? Might it be that sharing is the very thing you need to do to know them better? It's worth the risk.

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Prince Pledges to Treat Women (and Others) Like Royalty

Prince 300Each week after dance, I take the wave (music playlist) we danced to home and I immerse myself in it. The following week I review my experience of dancing to that wave to help community members decide if they want to buy a copy. It's a fund-raiser. It helps to pay the rent - plus doing it expands my musical horizons.

Sometimes there are songs on the playlists that don't hit home with me at all. This week, the wave I internalized includes the song "Kiss" by Prince. It took me a while to warm up to it. After skipping it the first time through the wave, I danced to it, hiked to it and washed dishes to it. I even watched the video. It is unlikely to ever be my favorite, but I am liking it a little.

Plus I'm liking Prince himself a whole lot more since he made the news yesterday.

Prince hit the news last night because he pledged to quit cursing and start showing more respect. 

In a cover story for the latest issue of Essence magazine, Prince explains that he quit cursing as a show of respect to others by saying:

"Did you ever hear Muhammad Ali curse? Would you curse in front of your kids? To your mother?" He cites several current female musical artists, then continues, "They're all my sisters. We shouldn't curse at them. We need to treat all of them, and all people, like royalty."

Now, THAT'S Speaking Strong. 


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Article Use

Please copy, quote, distribute, share and publish these articles with the following credits.

©2014 Meryl Runion Rose. Meryl is a Certified Speaking Professional and the Creator of the SpeakStrong Method of Dynamically Effective Communication. Find her at www.SpeakStrong.com

Let me know how you use them. Thanks!  

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