Have you ever felt manipulated? Even more critical, have you ever manipulated somebody else?
Take a moment to answer these questions. Feel safe to do so.
Here at elephant journal—a safe environment and community—you can let all imbalances come to the surface, where they can be observed with equanimity. After all, you’re not required to give your answers to anybody else but your Self.
I, myself, can recognize the feeling of being manipulated and most certainly can see clearly when I manipulate somebody else. And it’s from this experiential truth that I write with metta, love and compassion. Because, dear readers, manipulation is the ultimate dysfunctional way to communicate and unless we stop to observe it, we can’t change it.
Why would we want to change a way of communication that works? You may ask. There will be those who think that it’s the only and best way to get results. What results? Well, manipulation is an effective way to get what “we want” from others.
The desire to get things done the way we want them done is considered by great masters and wise sages a blockage in our spiritual growth.
Having the desire to get things to happen the way we want them to happen means we’re craving an expectation. And those who understand life certainly know that having expectations is a sure trap—set by our own control issues—and we’re most likely bound to feel disappointed.
Why? Because usually nothing is ever the way we want it to be, but just is what it is, at that moment.
The bright side of this realization is that when we learn to see clearly things as they are, and not as we want them to be, a real happiness blossoms. Suddenly we face the harmonious reality that things as they are are sooooo much better than how they seem to be when we insist on making them be what we want them to be…for the simple reason that when we see things as they are, we stop creating misery for ourselves and can choose to stop averting or craving the very thing we’re experiencing as we understand it’s always changing.
If what I just wrote seemed complex to you, let’s just remember…this will also change.
Manipulation in human communication is a way to make others do things the way we want to do things.
There are different ways to manipulate, and I’m sure those interested in manipulating others can guide you to many book titles, mind readers, illusionists, media techniques, political writers, preachers, newspapers and leaders that can teach you by example how to do it. It might seem even an exciting practice since it gives you a sensation of “power” to which we humans get so attached and crave as much as any addiction of the mind.
So, at first it might interest you to know who’s manipulating you. And as you learn the many ways it’s done, you start “seeing” not only strangers, but your friends and family as well, as master manipulators. You’ll see the times when you thought you were the one making decisions, when in fact somebody else manipulated you to thinking that was the case. Beware, because you’ll also see how often you manipulate others, or even worse you might fall to the temptation of trying to manipulate your way and make others do your will at all times.
That’s all manipulation is, really:
Somebody else making you do what they want by making you believe that it’s your own idea. Somebody else controlling you by giving you the illusion that you’re the one in control.
Ancient Celtic wisdom advises that “releasing control is the spiritual warrior’s ultimate challenge” and if we’re honest in our observations this resonates as true. It’s our own tendency to want to be in control that gets in our own way and hinders our evolution towards peace.
It’s not that control is a bad thing, it’s that the meaning we have come to give to the word control has degenerated from its highest vibratory power into a low vice of the mind. We have missed that the most powerful way to use control is as a practice to become masters of our own mind, masters of our own Selves.
The right way to practice control is to control our thoughts and daily behavior enough so that any negativity is eradicated and transformed into pure love and compassion—so our thoughts, words and actions become loving and compassionate, and our communication then is really enlightening to ourselves and others. Now, that is real power.
Manipulation is the ultimate dysfunctional way to communicate because it steals the manipulator from the gift of others.
Think about it. If you’re always manipulating others to get your way, how will you know when the other is taking his/her own initiative to do something for you, by their own will?
Those who manipulate others doubt others’ intentions and find it very hard to trust. Manipulation only gets the manipulator to that place he or she fears the most, which is the motive in itself that gets him or her to manipulate in the first place: the fear of loneliness.
At the end of the cycle, the manipulator ends up being lonely anyway, because all that he/she knows is what he or she has created by their own manipulation. Like I said, the manipulator steals him/her self from the gift (love, friendship, company, help) of others, by never letting the others be who they are or to act with freedom.
How many people do you know who complain of being lonely and not feeling loved (as you see them never give enough time for their partner to express their love by their own initiative)? How many sons and daughters avoid their parents because they simply don’t like the “guilt trip” they put them through in order to have them do what they want them to do? How many people say they feel the loneliest in a crowd and complain of not having any friends even when they’re always surrounded by people? How many times have you voted for a leader thinking you’re getting something just to find out later you got another agenda? How many times have you bought a product believing it was something that it really wasn’t?
We’ve all been manipulated and have manipulated somebody else.
The good news? It’s a choice.
Choose to give others time and space to be around you.
Choose to give others time and space to express their own nature.
Choose to give others time and space so you can receive the gift they are for you.
Stop stealing yourself from the gift of others!
Speak with the truth, practice noble speech.
Do not be afraid of asking openly for what you need from your human fellows.
You’ll be surprised how often those around you choose to please you and show you love—only because it feels good to them… without being manipulated into doing so.
Editor: Lynn Hasselberger
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