In the Share and Inspire I uploaded last week on Facebook, I admitted feeling uncomfortable when having to ask a favor of someone. At the end of the video I promised a new video with the YAYOM ‘explication’ of this favor fear(which should have been ‘explanation’). Here it is: the ‘explication’.
Ironically, the day before the Share and Inspire was published, I was in a meeting with intellectuals whom I had never met before. And guess what: a question popped up in my mind. There I was, sitting silently and fully aware of the scheduled Facebook post about my favor fear. Would I ask the question? You’ll find the answer below.
Maybe I should be the first to share and inspire. Here's a YAYOM challenge I struggle with from time to time….
But let us first analyze my favor fear under a YAYOM-microscope. The premise is this: I don’t like asking questions (mostly favors) to other people because I feel I’m bothering them. This favor-shyness may seem like a small thing, but I can tell you it has influenced my life quite a lot, whether it was to ask for a raise, a date or just some time.
A bothering thought
Let us first focus on the idea that I bother people. That’s a thought. The YAYOM mantra says that my thoughts are my reality, meaning that if my mind is set on ‘bothering’, then ‘bothering’ is what it will find. It also means that my reality is not necessarily 100% equal to the ‘real’ reality, if that exists.
Our thoughts not only color our perception, but they also steer our actions. The thought of ‘bothering’ has 2 possible actions: I ask the question or I don’t ask the question. I can back off or I can overcome myself and throw it out. Funnily enough, either choice would have the same effect.
Layers of guilt
Guilt. If I ask the question, I feel guilty for taking some of someone else’s precious time, for bothering. This guilt is sometimes marked by ‘Sorry for asking this, but…’. If I don’t ask the question, I feel guilty for being a coward. And on top of that, knowing that it is not necessary to feel guilty about anything, I start feeling guilty for feeling guilty.
Guilt, just like awareness, can be layered.
In case of not asking the question, it sometimes happens that the other person comes to you after a while and raises the topic himself, adding: ‘I thought you would have asked me’, after which you feel even more guilty for feeling completely exposed by the other.
Favor fear scheme
I have put the above reasoning in a scheme. Apart from the above (which is the left part of the scheme), you can see on the right an alternative thought. Instead of thinking ‘bothering’ I think ‘good question’. Many other thoughts are possible. The action that follows from thinking ‘good question’ can take different forms, but again with one thing in common: no guilt.
You will also see in the scheme that I put the ‘reaction roulette’ in the margin. That’s because the other person’s reaction is not part of my mastership. On the contrary: according to YAYOM the other person’s reaction is his active choice for which he can never blame me. How do we know? Simply, because there are many possible reactions the other one can choose between.
So, what is the lesson here? Is it that we shouldn’t feel guilty? Is it that we shouldn’t shy away? Hopefully that is not what you’ve retained from it, because that would mean you haven’t fully understood YAYOM. YAYOM does not tell you what to do or feel, it only offers you awareness of your thoughts and actions.
If you shy away, that’s fine. If you overcome yourself and ask the question: that’s fine too. If you feel guilty: that’s unnecessary, but in itself that’s also fine. If you don’t want to feel guilty: that’s ok. Staying in your comfort zone or stepping out of it: neither option is better than the other, it’s just who you choose to be.
YAYOM is about acceptance and about being aware that you are free to do what you want. You can use that freedom to build courage for asking favors, or you can use it for finding workarounds to get the answers you are looking for. You decide. You are your own master.
So? Did I ask my question in the meeting with unknown intellectuals?
Yes I did. And there were 2 or 3 other questions I did not ask. My choice. I am my own master.