Category Archives: relationships

Rank, Revenge and Money

Recently I was reminded of the complexity of a crucial couple’s money knot: what happens when one partner “controls” the money?

I was asked by my friend, Kathleen Burns Kingsbury to be on her new Breaking Money Silence® Podcast Series.  She’s hosting conversations around money myths that we hold.  The one I chose to talk about was “I have to know everything about the money to feel safe”.  We had a really great conversation which covered many aspects of the myth.  Here’s the link to the podcast so you can check it out:

One of the things that’s really intriguing to me about this topic is the concept of Rank and Revenge around money.  Let’s dig more into that one, okay?

Frequently in a relationship money is the place where power struggles are uber visible.  We’ve all seen the dynamic where one partner controls the money and the other partner ‘acts out’.  It was in some ways the cultural norm before the sexual revolution, right?  The husband controlled the money, but the wife would then go out and splurge.  In that instance the husband holds the “rank” in the form of control, and the wife practices the “revenge” in the form of spending extravagantly.  It’s a game or dance we have all seen in our families, in novels or in film.

If one person holds power in a negative way, the other person is likely to find a way to exert some revenge.  What’s really going on is an attempt to find some equilibrium.  The power in the relationship has become one sided.  It’s no longer a partnership, it’s a tug of war.

Struggle is a normal phase in a romantic relationship.  It’s that time when the ways you are different no longer seem cute and amusing.  Why can’t your partner just be more like you?  Why can’t you be right?  Why can’t you be the top dog?  Money is a place where this often plays out. Unfortunately some couples never move out of the struggle place around money—or other things, for that matter—and keep tugging on the ropes.

At the end of one talk I gave, a women came up to me and said: “You need to FIX my husband.  He’s driving me crazy.  He has these spreadsheets.  He’s always fiddling with the numbers and it’s just crazy.”   Seems ironic, in a way, doesn’t it?  This husband was being the number cruncher and his wife, being of the opposite view, thought it was crazy.  Mostly we think the less number crunchy person is the wrong one…the truth is that neither one is right or wrong, they just have different strengths and talents.

We all know opposites attract!  This issue is how have money effectively managed while NOT stimulating rank and revenge in your relationship.

One that often works is for the more natural number cruncher to translate the information into pie charts or bar graphs.  It’s likely that the opposite of the cruncher will be able to grasp proportions at a glance while numbers may just baffle them

One of the things Kathleen brought up in our conversation that I just loved was that as we share in the management of our finances with our partner the intimacy between us increases.  I think one of the reasons that is true is that when we finding a way to share this crucial area we have to honor and respect each other and our differences, and that makes for a closer connection.

Money, and the day-to-day management of it, is a crucial thing in our lives.  How can you facilitate a better way of sharing the money responsibilities in your relationship?


Shell Tain, The Untangler

Want to talk more about rank, revenge and money, give me a call 503-258-1630 or check out my website at

Checkbook, Check “Mate”?

Let me take you on an exploration back into my past by telling you about Tim—my first husband—and money.

CheckbookAs you probably know by now, I’d been actively “managing” my money since I was a little girl.  My dad made keeping records and being clever with money a rewarding thing to do.  By the time I got married at 21 it was very natural for me to be the family accountant. I not only liked knowing what was going on with the money, it actually was and is very important to me.  I enjoyed being effective and adept with it.

Tim was a good man.  He was responsible, ethical, very smart, and had a wicked sense of humor that often left me laughing so hard I was in tears.  One such occasion was his response to a TV commercial that asked “How do you keep baby Johnny dryer?” Tim’s response was: “a cork and a rubber band”—at that point I simply lost it.

He looked like Bill Bixby, the non-green part of the Incredible Hulk of the early 80s.  He was charming, warm hearted, wrote me poetry, and actually danced with me.  Great guy.

After we’d been married about five years I got tired of being in charge of managing the money.  It was role nausea.  Although I’m good at it, I just needed a break.  I asked Tim to take it on for a while.  He agreed.  Although I don’t remember it, I’m sure I walked him through the process of how I managed things, and handed over the checkbook.  (You remember those, right?  I still use them, every once in a while!)

I kept checking in and asking him how things were going and he said “coasting along”.  Turned out they were pretty much coasting downhill into oblivion!

After several months of his managing the money, he got a new job that required him to go away for around three weeks of training.  Since he was going to be gone for some time I asked him to turn the checkbook and reigns back over to me.  He did so, and it was a mess.

He had been entering checks in the checkbook, but had no running total, nor had he balanced the checkbook to the bank.  The actual bank balance once I figured it out was $2.57—and yes, I do remember the amount.  I wasn’t going to get a paycheck for two weeks, and he wasn’t going to be paid until after the training.    It was the 70s, and—as a side bar—credit cards didn’t let us pay over time until 1987!  And of course he took the credit card with him on the trip.  Yipes!

I was stuck eating the weird canned goods in the back of the cupboard while he was enjoying steak at his training seminars.  Hmmm.

No surprise I took back the bill paying, is it?  He just wasn’t good with numbers, literally.  He could write two different numbers on the check, the handwritten one and the numeric one, and a different number in the checkbook.  I referred to it as musical money, like musical chairs.  It usually ended up with me waiting to see which number the bank chose.

Even with that huge difference in our skill sets around money, once we got past that month, money was not something we ever fought about.  During the rest of our marriage we made a lot of money decisions together.  He participated in the choices and spending—he just didn’t manage the checkbook, I did!

One of the times we moved he went ahead of me and rented an apartment for us.  We knew each other so well that he found the perfect place for both of us at a great price.  Everyone that knew me was frankly amazed that I didn’t need to see the place first!

The point is that together we made a great team, we combined our different strengths.  I found ways to communicate how the money was going that worked for him, and he respected my role as the family accountant.  How can you and your partner find a way to be more effective with money by sharing your talents?


Shell Tain, The Untangler

Is there a money knot in your relationship? Wanna talk about it? Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at

Think of your Company as a Person

Back when I was deeply immersed in “Corporate Land” I tried to hold the standard of: “What is best for the company?”  I truly felt that if something was good for the company overall then it was worth my time and effort.  Most of you reading this are in essence your own Company.  You are the company or the company is at least all yours.  So now this “What is best for the company?”  and “What is best for you?” can get a bit tangled.  Sometimes it’s even hard to tell where the boundary is, isn’t it?  When is it about you?  When is it about the company?  When is it about both?

Thinking of your company as a person can be a great exercise for a small business owner or sole proprietor.Thinking about that led me to the idea that it’s just like a romantic relationship:  Yours, mine and ours.  You are the decider for all three entities.  Yep, entities.  In a way they each have a voice and thus each need a say in what is going on.  That works in a relationship and it will work in your business, too.

Let’s agree with that metaphor for a moment and imagine that your company was actually a person.  What might happen if you started to think of your company as a person?  As a partner with you in your business?  How might that collaboration benefit both you and your company?

What would that person look like?  What would they be wearing?  What are their hopes and dreams?  Really envision your company as a person.  Give them a name, or a nickname based on the company’s name.  Start to give the company a voice so you can balance the conversation.  After all, if it is truly your company then whatever is good for it is at least worth giving serious consideration, yes?

Of course, what you really want is what’s best for both you and your company.  That’s the best result.  And just like in a relationship sometimes one side needs to give in or at least compromise.  How would that work between you and your company?

What’s currently going on in your business?  Which side seems to hold the power?  What would balance look and feel like?

Many of us sacrifice too much of ourselves for the company.  We pour time and energy there and get exhausted.  We forget to take care of ourselves and reinvigorate our enthusiasm for the work.

On the other side some people try to ignore the company side and just do the parts that seem engaging.  One of the things the company side really wants is all that crunchy numbers stuff and that fiddly administrivia… yawn!  And yet those thing turn out to be really helpful stuff in the long run.

See if this idea of actually anthropomorphizing your company into an entity gives you a new way to balance the scales.  Play with it.  Have meetings with your company.  Even go on retreats together.  It’s amazing what the two of you can do. Wow! Power couple on the rise!


Shell Tain, The Untangler

Having trouble envisioning the company as a person? Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at

Money Ritual

This time of year is filled with rituals; some formal and some not so formal.  The ones that come to mind for me are things like singing Auld Lang Syne, watching the ball drop, and making resolutions.  There is even a very long-standing New Year’s ritual that has to do with money.  It’s one my family did every year and I never knew it was a mcandle heartoney ritual until now.  Wow! Money really is a taboo topic!  It’s Hoppin’ John, the black-eyed peas and rice combo. The peas are symbolic of pennies or coins and a coin is even sometimes added to the pot or left under the dinner bowls.  The addition of collards or some other green adds to the wealth since they are the color of money.  Even cornbread adds to the ritual being the color of gold.

As humans we really need and like rituals.  They help us create clarity and focus.  We have been using them for centuries.  They are everywhere.  They define the space.  Frequently they tell us when something begins and when it ends.

Ceremonies are all about ritual.  There are rituals around graduation, marriage, babies, weddings, winning the game… you name it. They can be celebratory or solemn.  Whatever form they take they help us to step out of our day-to-day life and take notice.  They aide us in getting purposeful and mindful.

It strikes me as odd, but also understandable, that we have so few rituals around money. I don’t mean the ones using or giving money.  I mean ones honoring or acknowledging our relationship with money.  So here’s what I’m proposing.  Set up and do a Money Ritual in this New Year.

It can take any form you like.  Frankly, it’s more about your intention than the steps.  It can be fun and silly or serious and committed.  Let me make one up and you can then figure out what you like about it and what you’d change.

Personally, I like fire!  So I think I’ll start with a bunch of colored paper.  I’m going to tear the paper into pieces big enough to write on.  I like the idea of the torn, somewhat messy edges. Then on each piece I’m going to write something about money that I want to either keep or let go of.  I plan on focusing about my thoughts or beliefs.  Things that I want to let go of might be “worrying about money”, and I will want to keep “appreciating what I can do with money”.  I will then create a ritual by taking all the “let go” slips of paper, reading them aloud, and burning them one by one.  After that I’ll find a cool box, bag or bowl and, one by one, read aloud and put into the container each of the ones I want to keep.  Later in the year, I can even go back and review those more positive elements as yet another Money Ritual.

There.   That’s a ritual.  I can do it again that way every year or I can do something different.  It’s my choice.  The definition of ritual really says that it has to be the same, prescribed format every time.  I’m going to disagree.  I think the INTENT has to be the same, not the steps.  When dealing with large groups of participants, the consistency of format creates predictability which puts people at ease.  If that works for you on a personal level, go for it.  For me, I like to change things up so I stay more conscious and in the moment with them.

What I’m suggesting is that you set a bit of time to create a Money Ritual.  To get clear on what you want from and with money in the coming year.  To make a declaration, and in the process to let go of what didn’t work while embracing what will.

And if you’d like a bit of help creating some other rituals with your money give me a call at (503) 258-1630 or check out my website at

Wishing you and your money a new year filled with Ka’ching!

Shell Tain, The Untangler

Money’s Wish List

So what do we do with Money over the holidays?  Most of us use it and ignore it at the same time.  We spend it with the idea that we will catch up with it in January.  Actually, it’s more like April.  It takes that long for many people to catch up with, or recover from, their holiday spending.

At the very least it seems we put our money thinking on hold.  And yet what do we expect from Money during December?  We earnitexpect it to be there.  We expect it to stretch to meet our needs and desires.  We expect it to magically appear.  And we expect it to do all this cheerfully.  Hmm.

Remember that thing about how we are going to be in relationship with Money all our lives? How about the question: “If we knew we were going to be in relationship with a person forever how would we want that relationship to be?”  I’m guessing that we wouldn’t expect anyone we were in relationship with to do what we expect of Money over the holidays.

So what might Money want?  What’s on Money’s wish list? You’ll have to ask your Money to find out. (Yes, talking to your Money is a good thing.)

Here’s what I think Money will say to you.  I think it wants what everyone really and truly wants.  It wants your time and attention.  It wants to have a shared experience of deep caring with you.  Well, isn’t that what we want from our loved ones?  Stuff comes and goes and frankly it’s very few presents that make a lasting impression.  What we want is positive time together.  Money just wants some of your time and attention.  It might even want your acknowledgment and appreciation for the frenzy you put it through during the holidays.

And Money as a loved one?  That may be throwing you off but think about it.  Sometimes Money doesn’t give us everything we want but neither does family.  Sometimes we have to work really hard to keep things going with Money and the same with family.  Sometimes Money seems to let us down and so does family.  And sometimes Money comes through and helps us, just like family.

Money will be with you longer than family.  You will interact with Money every day.  What’s the relationship you want?  What’s the relationship Money is asking you for?

Oh, and Money has some obstacles in communicating with you, doesn’t it?  It can’t talk to you; it has to get your attention in other ways.  What if you tried to notice what it might be trying to say?   What might that bounced check be saying?  What might the pile of unopened bills be saying?  And what might the unexpected money that lands in your lap be saying?

So check in with your Money and see what its wish list looks like for this holiday season.  Can you possibly fit in giving Money a bit of what it’a asking for now?  Maybe there is something on Money’s wish list you could give it?

If you’d like to explore how you and Money can get along together better, give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at


Shell Tain, The Untangler

Talk to Your Kids About Money

kid talk 1What’s the best gift you can give your kids this year?  Start talking with them about money.  Start actually asking them what they think.  You’ll probably be amazed.  Start giving them practice at noticing and handling it.  For many kids the first time they are actually faced with handling money is when they go off to college and are greeted with someone wanting to give them a credit card.  Talk about diving into the deep end of the pool!  I had some visitors from Poland a couple of years ago.  They said that in Poland young people can’t get a credit card until they have successfully managed a checking account.  Novel idea, eh?

We could all do that though, couldn’t we?  We could start our kids out early talking about money and handling money in ways that are appropriate for their age.  Frankly, one of the reasons I ended up so engaged with money was the way my dad started me out.  I guess I was maybe eight or so when I started getting an allowance.  I had to keep a ledger.  Nothing fancy, it had two columns which I titled “Income” and “Outgo”.  In order to get the next week’s allowance the ledger had to balance.  I had to do the math.  The brilliant thing my dad did was that he had no judgment or opinion about what I spent the money for.  I could buy candy, toys, clothes or save it.  It didn’t matter.  His point was that I knew what I was doing with it and it balanced.  That part of money remains easy for me to this day.  I’m aware of where it’s going and what it’s costing.

If you don’t talk about money the message you reinforce is that it’s both taboo and somehow scary.  That idea gets ingrained so that most people never talk about money unless forced to.  If you think about it, that’s pretty odd.  We actually spend more time dealing with money than we do having sex and yet we’ll talk about sex more than money.  Most parents even talk to their kids more about sex than they do money.  Personally, I advocate that we talk about both topics!

It is important to both talk to your kids about money and keep whatever “training” you are trying to implement age appropriate.  You have to judge how the information is landing. If it’s too confusing or too sophisticated for where they are, it just won’t work.  Find out what they think about money, including where they are on track and where they aren’t.  Banish the taboo about talking about it.

I know it takes courage.  It may even prove humbling.  You might choose to explain that you are trying to do this differently than your parents did with you.  You might try and help your kids do it differently.  Change the idea that money is this weird, creepy thing that you deal with but never talk about.

Oh and one more thing: Even as you talk to your kids about money and change the taboo they may still have some money issues to work out later in life and wouldn’t it be great if talking about it wasn’t one of the issues?  Wouldn’t it be great if they already had some skills with money to help them?

Want some more support helping your kids understand money? Give me a call at 503-258-1630


Shell Tain, The Untangler

More Flies With Honey…

Summer is almost over. Frankly, I enjoy stretching the “untangling money” frame of this blog a bit more in the summer, so here’s a last hurrah. The topic is something my clients and I often talk about. It comes up when they have a weird client, a grumpy mate, a looming conflict. It’s the “Jane, you ignorant slut” temptation…

janeRemember the classic danSNL ‘Point/Counter Point’
routines of Jane Curtain and Dan Aykroyd? Every time he had a comeback or retort, it started with “Jane, you ignorant slut“. It’s a great example of bullying and playing nasty. It’s also a clear example of how NOT to engage in a discussion. The thing that makes it so amusing is the way that Dan delivers this slur in such a neutral, matter of fact tone, as if he’s just stating a simple fact.

Many of our grandmothers, mine included, talked about “catching more flies with honey than you could with vinegar” and I agree, with modifications. Often what they meant, for us girls, was that we should be “sweet” and “modest”…hmmm. That really translated to something more like manipulating others to our way. Sometimes this was effective, but it was never respectful, was it?

Respect is an important component in any relationship. A primary way to achieve that is to keep the disagreement from becoming personal. If we all refrain from slinging mud or attacking someone else’s character, then we might actually get to the issue and get something resolved.

Most people use one of these two options during a conflict or disagreement:

Blame: This one starts with the equivalent of “Jane, you ignorant slut“. It’s full of judgement, criticism and attacks on personality and character.

Complaint: This is a clear, simple statement of the issue, hopefully without emotional hooks attached. You can express how you feel but you’ll be sliding over to the Blame model if you somehow imply that those feelings are the other person’s fault. It’s that old “I” statement model. You make statements about yourself instead about the other person. For example, “I felt left out.” rather than “You ignored me.”

There are a couple of really helpful things to remember in any challenging conversation:

It’s not about you: Yep, even if it sounds like it is, it’s probably not. It may be that you didn’t do what the other person wanted or expected but it’s not about you personally. So before having the conversation, repeat “It’s not about me” to yourself about five times and then do that again.

You are probably making assumptions: We all do that. We assume that the person meant this or that. For example: Many of my clients will assume that the person is going to complain about the cost of something, so they start discounting before they even bring up the price. It’s this thing in their head. They are trying to stop something that might not happen and in the process perpetuating an idea that probably isn’t even true. If you just stated your fee (without a discount) and they complained, you could handle that, couldn’t you? (Ah, yet another blog topic, popping up for next time. Well, look at that! I still managed to make this blog about money…wow!)

The bottom line here is to resist the “Jane, you ignorant slut” temptation and keep it calm and neutral. Try it. I’ll bet you get better results with honey, honey.

I’m here to help you untangle your money knots. Give me a call at 503.258.1630 or check out my website at


Shell Tain, The Untangler

Goodbye Letters

The daughter of a good friend of mine graduated from high school this summer.  She’s a wonderful girl.  As an example of her grace andletters thoughtfulness she sent me a very nice thank you note for the gift I gave her.  I was delighted.  It’s so rare these days for anyone to do such a thing, let alone a young person.  There was, however, one thing I was really curious about.  The entire note was printed, even the signature.

When I asked my friend about this she said that they taught her handwriting in about the 3rd grade but that no one is using it any more.  Wow.

Technology has given us speed.  We have spell check, which is a godsend for me.  I really can’t spell.  Everything is legible. We don’t wait for days to know something.  Sure, the phone texts are funky and sometimes downright weird.  But what are we giving up to have all of this?

I do find that with all the typing I do, my handwriting has gotten messier and I still use cursive, a lot!  I’ve been pissed with myself for years for not having paid more attention to the shorthand I took in high school.  I’d love to have that skill and be able to take more effective notes.  It’s too late, though.  I can’t find a place anywhere that teaches it L.

Note taking was the first place that my mind went to when I thought about my friend’s daughter going off to college and only printing.  It changes everything.  Of course, they won’t print.  They’ll sit there typing on their laptop or pad, taking notes, hardly looking up.  That changes the interaction or maybe even eliminates it?  The thought of trying to be a teacher with no one even looking in your general direction makes me sad.

And then I think of the letters I have.  Yes, I know.  I don’t actually write them anymore.  All the more reason for me to cherish the ones I have.   I have over 20 years of letters from one grandmother.  I recently reread them all and was delighted to be back in her company.  It so transported me that several times I thought, “I’ll need to write her back about this.” as I was reading.

Reading the letters I have from my dad not only brought him back but gave me some insights I hadn’t seen before about his thoughts on, wouldn’t you know it, money!

The earliest family letter I have is from Guy Wood to Nellie Willits in 1893.  Several years later, they would marry and, many years after that, I become their great granddaughter.  He was writing to her as she was visiting the Chicago World’s Fair.  The irony in this letter is that he points out that she should go see the City of San Francisco in the California Building.  That would be the exhibit of how ‘Frisco looked 13 years before the devastating 1906 earthquake.

Each letter is a window into the writer, the recipient and their relationship. It’s not just in their words but in their script.  I can recognize their handwriting as easily as their voices.  I love the misspellings, the incorrect grammar, the scratch outs, the little drawings.  My grandmother used to always think of something she forgot to add, so it would be written in sideways or even on the flap of the envelope in tiny script.  You don’t get any of that with a keyboard.

The more I think about this, the more mixed up I get.  There’s no stopping it and I want to remember the gifts of that slower process as I let it go and say goodbye…sigh.



Signs Of A Dysfunctional Family

Okay, so we all probably come from a dysfunctional family.  I get it.  There may be people who have perfection in that area, and if that’s true the numbers are slim, and I don’t actually know any of them.  The important thing is just how dysfunctional was your family, and how are you coping with and recovering from that? And what does Dysfunction really mean?

Earlier this year I ran across a blog post by Marriage anddysfunction Sex Therapist, Todd Creager .  He had a video post on the 7 signs of dysfunction, and with his permission, I’ll share a bunch of it with you.

The most important thing he said, the thing that really drew me in was: Dysfunction means you come from a family where you are afraid to be your true self. Wow!  There it is in a nut shell, plain, simple and true.

Let’s look at the 7 signs:

1. You have a hard time figuring out what you want.

2. You feel guilty a lot, your feelings of guilt lasts longer than 10 seconds

3. You end up in non-reciprocating relationships

4. Too much or not enough conflict in your intimate relationships

5. You are really hard on yourself.  Your inner critic never lets you be!

6. You have a hard time relaxing.

7. If you are a parent you are extreme.  You either run the family like a “boot camp” or are far to laissez faire in your parenting.

(to see and hear the entire video go to

Pretty interesting isn’t it?  I know my score is pretty high.  I’ve been working on this stuff for years.  I’ve shifted a bunch of it, and am still a “work in progress”.  The thing I love about this test is that it’s not only approachable but has that sense of practicality.  I heard it and thought…”oh yes, I see that.”  Some of the things I never had really tied back to the family experience, but had thought were somehow just how I was.

And, just because I can’t resist it, let’s see where money would reflect this.  Remember how money is reflective?  How it shows us what we are up to?

Do you have trouble shopping?  Is it hard to choose?  Or do you buy things that you don’t seem to really like once you get them home?  There’s number 1: figuring out what you want.

Number 2: feeling guilty a lot.  This shows up a bunch with my clients.  They feel guilty about many aspects of money…not having enough, not being good with it, not tracking it, etc.

Number 3, un-equal relationships, can be a bit tricky.  Maybe you pick up the check too often, or like several clients you “over gift” and “treat” others?  How about number 4: conflict in your relationship?  We all know many couples do fight about money, and on the other end they hide what they are doing with it from each other.

Number 5: the Inner Critic is all over our money stuff, all the time.  If I had a magic wand, it is the top thing that I would change.  I would stop those heinous, nagging, distracting voices in all our heads!

I blame number 6 mostly on number 5.  It’s hard to relax with the Inner Critic ragging on us to do more, and more, or less and less.

And, finishing up with number 7, it’s unfortunate but most people do the same extreme parenting thing about money with their own children that their parents did with them about money.  That usually looks like keeping it in the taboo, un-talked about place.

So yet another place where money shows us what is driving us and where we are.  It reflects.  It doesn’t actually ‘make’ things happen.  It shows us what we are choosing.

Let’s all work on making different choices.



Here’s The Rub

I had an intriguing call with a client last week.  From the moment I heard her voice, I knew something was up.  She’s generally a positive person, but there was something going on.  Of course I asked her what it was.

She said she’d just gotten home from a massage.  Now that intrigued me, because, for me, a massage is a great thing.  It can have the effect of having emotion come up, just because I get so relaxed that I let it.  But usually I just feel relaxed and dreamy at the end of a massage.  I was curious.  What was going on?

rubTurns out that during her massage, the masseuse was regaling the client with the information from an article she had just read.  The article was all about the top ten stressors.  You know those things, right?  Death, marriage, divorce, moving, changing jobs, etc.

So there is my client: lying naked on a table, draped in a sheet, being massaged all while hearing all about the top things that can create giant stress.  Wow!

There are a bunch of things that are wrong with the picture.  The first is that it’s unprofessional of the masseuse to be chatting about anything during the massage.  Beyond that, it’s pretty disrespectful to the client.  It’s like the masseuse is absent-mindedly rubbing while thinking of other things.  And that may actually be the case.  But we don’t really want to know about that while we are on the table, now do we?

And now here’s the really important thing.  The crucial piece.  The client is settling for this.  She’s letting it go on.

Why?  Because that’s what we all do, and all too often.  We settle for less.  There can be a myriad of reasons why we do that.  Perhaps we are afraid of change.  Maybe we don’t want the hassle.  Sometimes we may feel embarrassed, or somehow rude if we ask for what we want.  And frequently, we may actually feel it’s all we deserve, that we somehow can’t have more or better.

And that is settling, and that’s where the rub is.  When we settle, we diminish ourselves, and we sacrifice something that is important to us.  And doing the settling doesn’t actually help the other person either.  All it does is harm to ourselves.

There is a distinction to make here between settling and compromising.  A compromise is a negotiated agreement.  Settling is just giving yourself away.  Accepting less.  With nothing in return.

It was a new idea to the client that she could have actually asked the masseuse to stop talking.  It was a new idea that she could choose a massage person who didn’t chat through the ‘rub’.  Many of us, this client included, have been raised to be polite.  Some of us have been raised to not ‘make a fuss’, and even be as invisible as possible.  Acting from that perspective just creates a never ending circle of not honoring our own worth.

One of the ways you can see if this is there for you is to notice where you are paying for things that aren’t quite what you want.  Where are you settling?  And why?

Frequently, when we don’t settle it takes longer.  We may have to try a bunch of different massage people, we may have to shop around.  And that, in my opinion, it time well spent.

You’ll know if you are settling when something doesn’t ‘rub you the right way’.  At that point you actually are at a cross road.  Do you keep settling, or do you make a different choice?