Episode 58: Shallow Water Part 2—Confronting vs. Contention

Episode 58: Shallow Water Part 2—Confronting vs. Contention

Hosted by Jodi Hildebrandt

This episode is the second part of a 2-part series.  Listen to part one >

In this episode, Jodi finishes her boating story and speaks in detail about the differences between contention and confrontation.  Confronting is, in fact, a very loving, necessary, healthy behavior, in order to connect with self and others.  Confronting is not automatically contentious.  Contention is about drama, whereas confronting is about sharing.


Full Transcript

PDF Version: Episode 58 Transcript: Shallow Water Part 2—Confronting vs. Contention

Episode 58: Shallow Water Part 2—Confronting vs. Contention

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Good morning and welcome to ConneXions Classroom Podcast for the week of June 6th, 2015. Thank you for joining me this morning.

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I want to finish with this story. Last podcast, I talked about my boating incident in shallow water. And I talked about how these real-life experiences that all of us have every day—and how my real-life experience had all sorts of these concepts, these characteristics of codependency, or fear, or triggers, vulnerability, perceptions, control, learning how to surrender, forgiveness.

So, as you listened to that story, you probably heard those kinds of concepts being presented. And so, I want to finish the story and tell you how it ended and how I managed or didn’t manage the experience.

I want you to listen to the concepts of confronting versus contending. Confronting versus creating contention. So, a lot of people would say that confronting is contentious, that it creates contention. And I want to give confronting kind of like a new look because I don’t see confronting as being contentious at all. I actually see it as being necessary. If I see something one way and you see something another way, how in the world are we going to share our differences of angles if we can’t share them? If we can’t confront and say, well I hear you saying this, and here’s how I saw it? And so, confronting is not a bad word to me. Confronting is actually a very loving thing to do because what it does is it shares with another person how I feel about something.

So, when I’m in a relationship—which all of us on the planet are in relationships; that’s all we’re in, are relationships. Relationships with our self, relationships with a spouse, or children, or family members, or employees, or professors. That’s what we’re in all day long.

And so, we need to be able to get clear with ourselves how we feel and how we’re perceiving things. And sometimes we have to confront ourselves, like hold myself accountable and confront and say, That was inappropriate that you pulled out in front of that woman. You saw her, you knew she was coming, and you behaved in a very selfish manner and you need to not do that again.” That’s me confronting myself, and it’s absolutely appropriate because it teaches me how to connect.

When I confront either someone else or myself, I am saying, here’s what I know to be true about me. And so, I’m either saying that to myself, like Here’s what I know to be true: I behaved selfishly when I pulled out in front of that person. I made them stop because I wanted to go first. And that didn’t feel correct to me, and so I was behaving in a selfish manner.”

And so, that’s me confronting myself and if I’m humble, then I own that, and I am willing to look at that and change.

Now, if I’m not willing to be humble, I probably wouldn’t confront myself. But let’s say somebody else confronted me and I’m not humble. Then maybe I would start being contentious, like contending with them, fighting with them.

Again, I want to suggest that confronting is a very positive, necessary, healthy behavior and it’s the only way to share me with you. I have to speak and share how I was affected, what I thought, what I felt, what I experienced. And the only way to do that is to actually use words and to share that with you.

And so, that means I have to confront whatever is going on. It’s not that I’m confronting you per se—it’s not personal to you. I’m just confronting the situation. And you so happen to be on the other side of the situation.

So, confronting is necessary, it’s healthy, it’s good, it’s connecting or at least it invites someone to connect. Whereas, a lot of people see confronting as negative, bad, it’s going to create a fight. And the Truth is that confronting doesn’t create a fight. It’s if the other person is not open to the confrontation or if I don’t know how to deliver the confrontation in a way that’s not out of drama.

So, confronting versus contending or contention. And I hope through the remainder of this story, teach you how to confront versus enter into contention because they are two very, very different things.

This is very important, listen to this. Confronting means I share me with another, so you’re sharing you with another person. Contention means I’m forcing me onto another. Sharing me with another or sharing you with another, versus forcing you or forcing me onto another. Very different motives.

So, when I confront, there is no drama. When I’m healthy confrontation, which means I’m responsible for my thoughts, I’m responsible for my feelings, I’m responsible for my choices, I’m responsible for my behaviors, I’m responsible for those consequences of my choices—that is no drama, that’s interdependency, I am in a position of humility, I’m in a position of Reality and Truth.

When I’m in contention, I’m definitely in drama. I’m in this dependent, codependent position. I have a lot of fear, and I’m trying to control, I’m in shame, and my perceptions are skewed.

So, it’s like wow, well how do I know whether I’m confronting or whether I’m entering into drama? Confronting versus contention, because contention is where I go into drama. Here’s how you’re going to know the difference. You have to get into the Truth about your situation and here’s where this story comes in. I had to get into the Truth about hitting the pipe—whose “fault” it was—because the Truth is, it was nobody’s fault. It was unfortunate, and as I tell the rest of the story, you’re going to hear how unfortunate it really was. There was no place for blame, though I so wanted to go into blame, I felt very entitled to go into blame. And when I felt that way or when I saw things that way, I wanted to contend with the entities, I wanted to contend with the state, I wanted to contend with the people at the lake. I was in drama and I wanted someone to be responsible for the damage and the danger that I was in and the people on my boat were in.

Here we go with the story. Hopefully, I’ve set it up so that you understand that you’re listening for healthy confrontation versus destructive contention, which is where drama is, or fear, control, shame, or distorted perceptions.

Let me go through these steps. I went through the steps on the last podcast but I want to give you these steps and go through some more detail, so that you can hear the steps. And I’d write these steps down because this is how you’re going to know whether you’re in Truth, which means you’re confronting, you’re sharing you with another, versus whether you’re in contention, which is you trying to force yourself onto another person.

Step number one, in any situation you’re in, you must recognize that you’ve been triggered. A lot of people have a very difficult time recognizing that they’ve been triggered. They just know that they’re feeling something—they’re feeling scared, they’re feeling upset, overwhelmed, confused, sad, lonely, bored. They’re feeling something. And sometimes, they don’t even know they’re feeling anything because they’re not used to taking responsibility for their emotions. They just know that something’s not “right” for them.

So, you first must recognize you’ve been triggered. Triggered means that you are having an emotional experience. And usually triggers are connected to feelings that are uncomfortable. You can have positive triggers, like when I walked outside this morning and saw what a beautiful day it was, I was triggered in a very positive direction; I was like, it’s so gorgeous, it’s so warm outside. I’m like a little lizard, I love the dry heat. Some people can’t stand that, but me, I mean, the hotter the better. I love to walk outside and it’s like turning up the oven to 500 degrees and just letting it sit there and then you open up that door and that dry heat hits you, I love that. So, I was positively triggered this morning when I walked out and saw how beautiful it was, and all my senses woke up.

Those are triggers. But because it is something pleasant, I don’t recognize it as something that I need to address. So, I can be positively triggered or negatively triggered, though I don’t like to put them in those polarized positions, but I think for this purpose, that’s probably the best way to describe it.

So, recognize you’ve been triggered, which means acknowledge you’re feeling something that’s uncomfortable, which is your first step to take ownership. So, you’ve got to be honest with yourself and you’ve got to take responsibility, and in that honesty & responsibility, you must stay humble. Those are the three underlying characteristics through all of these steps.

So, number one, you recognize you’ve been triggered.

Number two, you acknowledge the emotion you feel—and then you’re responsible for it. And this is difficult. So, I recognize that I’m feeling fear and then I have to be responsible for why I’m feeling fear. When I hit that pipe, I felt fear because the second I went over the top of that, I didn’t know what it was, and all I knew that I crossed over that boundary where the buoys were that said “caution,” and all of a sudden, the boat started taking on water. And so, I felt fear, like oh my goodness, what just happened? I felt the boat lunge like it hit something but it wasn’t such a powerful lunge, like it didn’t jerk us tremendously. I think it’s because I was going so slow, but the fact that the boat was taking on water scared me. And so, I had to recognize that I was having fear and that I had to be responsible for it. That was something that I was choosing at that moment to feel. Nobody was causing me to feel that way. Quite frankly, it was quite a legitimate thing to feel because all of a sudden, the boat’s not taking on water, and then all of a sudden, it is. And when a boat takes on water, you know what happens: you sink. And so, it was a reasonable emotion to be feeling.

Number three, recognize your thoughts that are supporting you to feel the emotion that you’re feeling. Let me say that again. You are responsible to recognize the thoughts that you’re having, that are supporting you to feel the emotions that you’re having. So, you could stay in this step number three and cycle here for hours, or days, or months, or years, you could cycle right there and just stay there—because my thoughts are continuing to support the emotion I’m feeling.

So, as the boat was taking on water and then my friend said, “Oh my goodness.” I think I said we’re sinking, I can’t remember exactly what I said. I think I did say that we were sinking or maybe I said the boat is taking on water. I can’t remember. But I made some comment that indicated that we were sinking. And then, she started having thoughts like, Oh my goodness, we’re sinking.” And then I started having thoughts like, “I’m responsible” and What if these people die in my care?” And How can I keep the boat from sinking?” And “What’s wrong with me?” And “I can’t believe that I just ran over something.” And “It’s all my fault.” I started having these thoughts.

And some of them were my faulty core beliefs. Some of them were really rational, like what did we hit? That’s not a faulty core belief. But some of them were very much based in shame, like I can’t believe I did that. And at this point, I didn’t even know what I had done yet, but I have these faulty core beliefs going through my head that were reinforcing these emotions I was having.

Number four. Articulate what the faulty core beliefs are telling you. So, what that means is I need to be able to stop. And in that moment, when I was in the trauma of all the stuff that was happening, I couldn’t really stop and go hmm, let me articulate what my faulty core beliefs are saying. But once I got out of the situation, I could then stop and think, which I did, and I went back when I was in a calm spot and started thinking about what those faulty core beliefs were actually telling me.

Number five. If you’re not able, or don’t know how, or feel like you “can’t” calm the faulty core beliefs down or stop them, you need someone, you need a person who you can go to who will validate you and help you 1) feel heard, 2) invite you into reframing those faulty core beliefs.

So, I had a couple of people that after the trauma was over that I talked to. I’d call them or I would just tell them the story and they were able to validate me which allowed me to feel heard, and then they invited me into reframing the faulty core beliefs, like you weren’t negligent. One of my beliefs was it was my fault, and they’re like, “Jodi, it wasn’t your fault. You didn’t do anything intentional. I mean, you hit a pipe and you didn’t even know it.” I’m like, “I know, but it was my fault. I could have killed all these people.” And so, they helped me reframe my faulty core beliefs because I was having a very difficult time calming those things down and getting back into the Truth.

Number six, once you are centered—and centered means that you’ve got your faulty core beliefs back into Truth—then you practice what you need to say to the other person or the other entity. So, I might say something like, “I need to be responsible for my emotions, my thoughts, my choices and the outcomes.”

I want to also practice what I want to say to the other person. I might say, “I need to share with you. When I was out on the lake and the boat was taking on water, I really felt like you were responsible for what was happening to us.” Another thing I could say to this person in a centered spot is, ask what they heard me say. So, after I share my angle on things and I take responsibility for my part, I could say, “What did you hear me say?” And once I’m able to share that, where I can stay centered, take responsibility for my emotions, manage my expectations—so when I’m confronting someone, which remember, confronting is about sharing my experience. Confronting does not mean that I have an expectation that they’re going to do anything. That’s where surrender comes in.

Now, I can assure you that I was not paying attention to my expectations because I had all sorts of expectations that I felt were reasonable and I felt like they “should” be responsible for. And I learned very quickly that I needed to let go of those and surrender.

So, once I’m able to do that and get centered, then I’m ready to go and actually share or confront. So, all of those steps need to happen before you go and confront someone. You’ve got to recognize, you’ve got to articulate, you’ve got to acknowledge, you’ve got to take responsibility for. And then, you’ve got to get centered, and then you’re ready to go and confront either the person or the entity.

Let me pick up where I left off. We pulled the boat out of the water and I walked around the back of the boat and I saw the whole outdrive sheared off the boat. And I saw puncture wounds in the bottom of the boat where it was taking on water, where whatever we hit—well I knew at that point it was a pipe—it had been such a significant impact that it had just taken the whole thing off.

So, I remember I walked back to the front of the boat, my friend was trying to comfort me and I think I was in a bit of a shock because I was just so grateful that all of us were still alive and we were all on solid ground. And at the same time, I was livid angry that something or someone had been so neglectful.

Now, listen to my drama. Listen. Someone or some entity was so neglectful that they left a pipe out in the water and it was covered up with water so nobody could see it. It felt like a trap. It felt like I was set up. It felt like it wasn’t my fault. Can you hear all that drama in my voice?

Though that was my reality at the time. That was my perception, and it felt so personal to me. I mean, obviously, I didn’t think someone left the pipe in the water just for me, but the fact that it was there and that someone could have hit it. And I remember thinking if I had been going faster, if I would have been going 30 miles per hour, “what if” we all were ejected from the boat? Who would have been responsible then?

So, I had all of these thoughts and I was mad, I was blaming myself, and I was blaming this unknown entity that I didn’t know who it was, like the Park Service or the state. At that point, I didn’t know whose pipe it was. And so, I was just completely out of control in drama, in shame, scared out of my mind, had no idea how much it was going to cost to fix the boat. I knew it was not good. I knew that it was a very serious situation.

So, everybody who was with me—the adults, my son, and his friends—they were very apologetic and trying to be empathic. They were kind of traumatized too because they had been through this experience as well.

So, we get everybody home and my girlfriend, and I, and her husband talked about it. And I was trying to lighten up. It was towards the evening time and so there was nobody to call. And so, the next morning, I got on the phone with the Park Service because the lake I went to is a state lake. And so, I had not gone through these steps at all. I knew I was triggered and I knew it was someone’s fault.

So, the story I’m going to tell you was my original reaction which was totally in drama. Here’s the drama reaction. So, I got on the phone and I got a park ranger. I told him the story and I told him the story kind of like this. “I was out at Utah Lake last night and I ran into a pipe. I don’t know whose pipe that was, but we all could have been killed. I had X amount of people on the boat, I had children, I had teenagers. And who puts buoys on top of a pipe that say danger as you’re crossing over it? You could not even see them.”

I mean, I was all over the place with this man, because I was so in fear, and I was so in anger, and I was so triggered, and I was so in shame that I was just telling this story as I was experiencing it again in my head.

And so, I said, “I want to know who’s responsible for this because I’ve done I’m sure all sorts of damage, thousands of dollars of damage to my boat, and I want to know whose pipe that is.”

And so, after I got done explaining, I was primed and ready to react. I had an expectation that said “You owe me. and you, sir, whoever you are, the state or whoever, has an obligation to take care of me.” So, I was totally in victim and in persecutor as well.

So, he very politely said, “That pipe is connected to Geneva Steel and Geneva Steel has gone out of business years ago. And because they went bankrupt, they didn’t have enough money to take the pipe out of the lake and so they just left it there.” And I’m like, “Well, then who’s responsible?” And they’re like well, “Geneva Steel is responsible but they don’t exist anymore, and so there’s no place to put culpability on.” I’m like, “No, no, no, no. That doesn’t work. I need someone to take responsibility for this.”

And I started talking about, how come the state’s not responsible? And why didn’t you put buoys in front of the pipe, so that people could have a warning that something was underneath the water?

I mean, I went all over the place trying to get him to really validate me because he never did. He didn’t know how to validate and I didn’t even know at the time, because I was so wrapped up in my own drama, that that’s what I was really needing and wanting, was his validation, like, Oh my goodness, oh dear, that is so frightening that that happened and I’m so sorry.”

And I even said that to him, I said, “You know what? You just are not even hearing me. We could have been killed.”

And he would not go there. I said, “You know? I’m wondering if you won’t acknowledge this because you don’t want to acknowledge that there’s some culpability here.”

And so, I was trying to read his mind. I mean, I was a mess. And it was all being driven because I was so fearful and I felt very entitled, very much in victim and I had expectations because of the fear and then also the enormous expense that I was going to undergo because of someone else’s choices to leave a pipe in the lake.

So, what I needed to do was recognize these steps and I didn’t do it.

So, I get off the phone with him and I am more upset than I was before I called him. And so, I thought, How can I have justice in this?” So, I called a friend of mine and I told him the situation. And he said, “You know, I think that you could sue them.”

Now, I’m not the suing type. But at that point, I was considering it. And so, I asked him, I said, “What would my case be, etc.?” And he started explaining it to me, and it could be negligence on the state’s part and how possibly life threatening that could be.

And as he described it, he started telling me how much it was going to cost, possibly, to bring this into litigation. I’m like uh, to me that just defeated the whole purpose, because I’m trying recoup my costs, not go spend more money.

He was at least validating because 1) he is a validating person, and 2) he didn’t feel culpable for what was going on whereas possibly, this other person at the state felt culpable. I don’t know if that’s the case or not, but that’s what it looked like from my dramatic position to me.

So, I let it go. I didn’t surrender it yet but I just let it go and I called this place that fixes boats and in the next couple of days, I took my boat down. The gentleman when I pulled my boat up, I’ll never forget his face and his comment, he’s like “What on earth did you do? What did you hit?” And I said, “Well, I hit a pipe in the lake.” He’s like, “I’ve done this for 20 years and I’ve never seen an outdrive sheared off like this.” I’m like, “Well, great. That’s wonderful.”

So, then he gives me a ballpark price of how much this is going to cost. And I couldn’t believe it. I mean, we’re talking thousands and thousands of dollars. It wasn’t just two or three thousand dollars. It was a significant amount of money more than that. My jaw dropped on the ground and I went into more drama, like “They must pay for this.”

And so, it was the first time we had taken the boat out for the season and I had made the assumption that my insurance was going to roll over because another insurance company that I had would just suspend my insurance for the winter and then as soon as summer came, on this certain date, it was like May 31st, they would just reenact it again. But I had a new insurance company and I did not check and see if they were going to roll it over. I just had been with this other company for years and years, and I just made the assumption—can you hear the set up?—that my insurance was just going to roll over.

So, when I called the insurance company, they said, “You don’t have coverage on this boat.” And I went into more drama. I mean, I was fit to be tied, emotionally.

So, not only was the state not responsible but now my insurance company wasn’t being responsible. And so, I went into drama with them and went over the whole story. I said, “I didn’t know that. And the other insurance company I had…” I went into all the explanations, “The other insurance company I had would always roll it over, can’t you guys do that? Please, please, please with sugar on top, please?” They’re like, “Sorry, we can’t do that.” I said, “Is there any way to make this work?” They’re like, “No. No, we can’t. You’re going to have to cover this cost out of your own pocket.”

And I was just devastated. I was devastated. So, I had to take a long hard look at myself. A very seriously long hard look at myself. I remember going into my bedroom feeling completely depleted, like no one cared about me, no one cared whether I lived or died. I could have killed all those people on that boat and no one seemed to care. That’s where my faulty core belief was at that time. No one cares that this is going to be so many thousands of dollars to fix. The world is conspiring against me, it wasn’t my fault, I was trying to be so careful and all these “bad” things are happening to me. Can you hear the drama? Can you hear all the contention in this? I’m not confronting, I’m in contention, I’m trying to force me onto the other person, like, You have to do this for me. You don’t understand. This wasn’t my fault. And you need to be culpable not only for what happened to me, but also for the financial damage that was done to me.” Can you hear that?

So, I went into my room and I remember having a really good cry. I was so overwhelmed with grief, with fear, with anger, with faulty core beliefs. And I sat there and thought okay, Jodi, this isn’t working, you trying to force your will onto these entities is not working. And then, I went into these steps, and I went through them one by one, I recognized why I was triggered, and I went through each trigger that I had from the time I hit the pipe, to the time we were sinking, I went through the triggers of when I saw the prop sheared off, when I talked to the Parks trooper, when I got the quote for the boat. I went through all the triggers. And then I acknowledged the emotions that I naturally would feel. I got out of drama, just with myself, and said, “Of course I would feel that, of course I would feel fear, of course I’d be angry, of course I’d be devastated. Of course.” So, I validated all of those emotions.

Then, I went through and recognized the thoughts, the faulty core beliefs I was having, that were supporting the emotion I was having. So, not only did I recognize the faulty core beliefs, but I recognized the thoughts that were reasonable, like “Of course it’s reasonable to feel so responsible and therefore feel scared, that makes sense.” So, I just validated all of that. And then, I was able to articulate my faulty core beliefs and what they were telling me.

My faulty core beliefs were telling me it wasn’t my fault. And the Truth is, is that it’s not about fault. It’s that I ran over a pipe and so I was culpable. But when I hear my shame say it was your fault or it wasn’t your fault, then it positions it in an inappropriate angle because it wasn’t about fault, it was about who was responsible, who was culpable in that moment? And I was. I’m the one that was driving the boat that ran over something that I did not see.

And so, I was able to articulate what the faulty core beliefs were telling me, what the distortions were telling me. And I was able to address them. And step number five, I was able to calm them down.

There were a few times later on—it wasn’t this day but later on—I’d call a friend and say, “Can you please help me? Because I feel so ripped off. I feel so violated by this experience.” And she would say, “Of course you do, that’s a lot of money that’s coming out of your pocket. And of course you do. And it makes sense. And I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry that you didn’t see the pipe.” I’d talk to her and sometimes I’d cry. She’d just say, “It’s just tragic what happened.”

And so, I was able to get validated and I was able to get centered. And so, I called the Park and Recs gentleman back. I called him in a way to confront him instead of contend with him. I called him back and I said, “Listen, this is so and so, I talked to you about a week and a half ago. And I have been so upset.”

And it was very interesting, as I took responsibility for my own emotions, he then started validating me. It was quite interesting. I said, “When I called you, I was so panicked, and so upset, and was trying to find someone to take responsibility for what had happened to me, and I’m realizing that it was just an unfortunate situation, that nobody left the pipe out there for this kind of tragedy to happen. Money was the thing that precluded that pipe being taken out of the water and I get it. And I’m still really upset about it, and I understand that you’re not responsible.”

It really is uncomfortable to realize that no one is responsible, it just was an unfortunate situation. And I said, “Sir, is there any way that you can mark that pipe so that no one else crosses over that?”

And as I was talking to him about solutions of how to keep the lake more safe, he joined right in and again, started validating me, saying “I’m so sorry, and I can see why that was such a traumatic experience for you, and you’re right, it was very, very dangerous, I’m so glad that nobody was hurt.”

And I said, “You know, I’m not the only one that’s done that. I guarantee there’s been other people who have crossed over that pipe. I don’t know that they’ve had the same kind of damage done to their boat, but there are going to be other people and the state is going to have deaths on their hands unless we do something to protect the people around that pipe. Either get the pipe out of the water or make some kind of a barrier around it.”

And he was in complete agreement. Now, I don’t know that he had any power to do anything, but at that point, it really didn’t even matter to me because he was hearing me, he was empathizing with me, he was recognizing the experience that I had and how frightening it was.

It was very healing. Even though to this day—this is like I think the second or third year—the pipe’s still sitting out in the water, nothing has been done to it, the buoys are still on top of the pipe. Even though that hasn’t changed, I in that moment felt heard, and seen, and validated. And I felt like someone was present with me, someone was witnessing my pain with me. And it healed me.

And so, like I said, I apologized for how I behaved and he just said, “You know, I understand. I can totally appreciate why you were feeling the way you were. What are you going to do with your boat?” I said, “Well, I took it down to the boat shop and to make matters worse, to add salt into the wound, I found out that my insurance had lapsed and so the price tag to fix it is going to come out of my pocket.” And he was like, “Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry.”

He was so validating around that. I’m like, “Yeah, it’s a hard lesson. I’ve learned a hard lesson emotionally and financially, to not make assumptions, and that I need to surrender things, and that going into drama actually makes things worse.”

He was very validating. I don’t remember who this gentleman was, but when I came towards him in a confronting manner and I was sharing me with him, instead of trying to force me onto him, he responded very, very well.

So, I got off the phone and still the sting of the Reality, which was my boat had serious damage done to it and all of that was going to come out of my pocket. And the sting or the realization that I could have inadvertently killed someone, that was really hard to take on, even though it would not have been something that I did intentionally, it allowed me to be very sober about my driving of my boat and paying attention to what’s in the water, and not just assuming that when I see buoys, that it means no wake zone. Because that’s what I did, I just assumed when I saw the buoys it was a no wake zone. So to check things out and be a bit more cautious before I just make assumptions.

I learned all sorts of beautiful principles of Truth and Reality through this experience.

Most of all, I learned that I get to practice confronting people, sharing my experience with another person, and then dropping my expectations after I share, because when I don’t do that and when I didn’t do that, I went into a very angry, contentious, expectatious, entitled position where I was trying to force my will onto someone else. And it did not go over well. It was no bueno. And it only caused me more grief, and more pain, and more heartache.

Let me tell you the rest. The boat people, they were really sweet men. It was a father/son combination. It took about probably two weeks because they first told me, “Why don’t you go back into the lake and see if you can find the outdrive?” And I said, “How would I do that?” And he goes, “Well, right where it hit the pipe, it probably just dropped into the water.” And I said, “Okay.” And he goes, “We might be able to salvage some parts off of it. Maybe the prop or something.” Because the prop was $1,500. I said, “Yeah, I’d be more than happy to go find that outdrive if there was something that we can salvage.”

So, I took my son and I think five or six other young men, and we split up three of us on one side and three of us on the other. And we walked along the pipe—because remember, it was perpendicular from the shoreline. And I said, “Be careful when you’re walking because this thing is a huge piece of metal and I’d hate to have you run right into it with your shin. It will probably cut you if you do.”

So, we went out to approximately where we hit the pipe and sure enough, the first guy in the line of three ran right into it. It had hit the pipe and just dropped right next to the pipe. And it was so heavy that it took three or four us to pick it up and carry it from—I don’t know—we were probably a hundred yards off the shore.

I’m about 5’4”, I was up to my shoulders in water, but we had some other people who were six feet and taller, so they had some more ability to use their muscles whereas I was struggling because I was pretty much underwater as we were trying to pick that thing up.

So, we carried it back and gave it to the guy and he goes, “Everything’s ruined on it. We can’t use any of it.” Oh no. Again, at that point in the storyline, it was like well, I didn’t have any expectations. And in fact, when I went into the lake, I remember thinking don’t have any expectations because if it’s completely demolished, you’re going to set yourself up to go into drama. And so, I was very conscientious to stay in the Truth, to stay in Reality, to surrender whatever the outcome was, don’t go into drama, stay in interdependency, and confront the situation in the Reality instead of going in with an expectation, and then finding out that it’s not workable, and then going, Oh my gosh, I can’t believe all the work, and all the effort, and I had to invite all these people out, and I bought them pizza afterwards, and all this money I’ve spent, and all this time!” I mean, I could have gone into drama all over again.

So, he ordered a brand-new engine for my boat. So, my boat is 10 years old and I have a brand-new engine on it. And I remember thinking, well, that’s a perk because I have a decade old boat with a brand new 2013 engine on the back of it, and so I’ll just be able to drive it a lot longer than an engine that was a 2003 or a 2004. And that was one of the highlights that I pulled out as like one of those gems, one of those things that as I surrendered the experience, it was like, well, here’s a positive thing.

And as I wrote that check to the boat people, they had a lot of empathy, they’re like, “I’m just so sorry about this. We’ve tried to keep the cost down as much as possible. You poor thing.”

They were very, very empathic, and all their empathy was so healing. Even though the Reality was still the Reality, having people validate and have empathy for my situation was very, very healing to me.

So, about two and a half weeks later, we had a brand-new engine and my son and I went out to Lake Powell with a bunch of his friends and had a blast on what felt like a brand-new boat because the engine was much more powerful than what had been on there, and we had a good experience.

And so, now that the sting of the finances have worn after two years, I feel really fortunate that we have this boat that has a really powerful engine because it gets people up on their skis a lot faster and has a lot of positive perks to it, whereas the other engine didn’t.

So, that is my story about shallow water. And I hope that as you listened to that story, you heard how me going into drama just created contention, and dependency, and fear, and control, and my distorted perceptions, and my expectations created more shame and faulty core beliefs. Whereas, when I stopped and I went through these steps of:

  1. Recognize I’d been triggered.
  2. Acknowledging my emotions and being responsible for them.
  3. Recognizing my thoughts that were supporting my emotions.
  4. Articulating my faulty core beliefs and what they’re telling me.
  5. Trying to calm those faulty core beliefs down and if I can’t on my own, I need to go get help. And I need someone to validate me and then invite me into a reframe of those faulty core beliefs.
  6. Once I’m centered, then I get to practice with another person or myself in the mirror how I’m going to share this information with another person.
  7. I am ready now to confront.

So, steps 1-7.

I look at that story and as I’m explaining it to you, I’m having very similar emotions as I went through the whole experience just sharing it with you. It is a very real thing when we have trauma happen to us. That was a very traumatic experience for me to have. When trauma happens, and trauma doesn’t have to be a big huge thing like running into a pipe, trauma can be getting a rejection notice—like say I went to apply for a school and I got rejected. Or maybe I feel trauma because I missed a green light.

Trauma can happen in any sense of the word. It’s when I go into drama, I am experiencing some kind of discomfort that I don’t want to, or I don’t know how to manage. And so, I get to learn how to confront these situations, which means be honest about how I feel, be responsible about how I feel, and what I think, and what my choices are, and be humble about recognizing what I can and cannot change, and therefore, surrender.

I hope you enjoyed the story. I’ll keep living life so I can keep sharing experiences with you.

So, between now and next time we talk, stay connected and we’ll talk soon. Bye bye.


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