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Archive for March, 2011

Line in the Sand

The other day I was having a conversation with a Prophet (RG) friend and we were discussing some issues in the life of a Mercy co-worker.  The Prophet was looking for some answers on how to interact with the Mercy in a way that would be constructive.  As I was sharing my thoughts, I started thinking “well, for goodness sakes, that IS something Mercys often do!”  It was one of those moments where you fully realize you have insight to share because you are painted with the exact same brush.  Sigh.

You don’t have to be around a Mercy for long to see that they have a slow-burning fuse.  Well, let me make an amendment to that.  They have a short, quick, explosive fuse when it comes to the well-being of those they love.  But when it comes to defending their own feelings or well-being, they are naturally long-suffering.  They will take it and take it, and bend and flex and override their own desires, or secretly feel trodden and never express it.  While their long-suffering itself is a strength and a weakness, they do eventually reach the end of it.  That is the issue I want to address. 

But first I need to introduce another commonly known fact about the Mercy.  Stubbornness.  They are not as vocally stubborn as others, perhaps, but anyone who has come up against the iron will of a Mercy knows it’s like trying to move a mountain.  And this stubbornness will rear its head in a whole new way when a Mercy finally gets pushed to their limit.

One of the topics of discussion I had with the Prophet was the issue of the Mercy being stubborn and unbendable in areas that didn’t make any sense.  Now, I understand that we are dealing with two different perspectives and what makes sense to the Mercy may not make sense to the Prophet.  But I began to ask the Prophet about the history of their relationship.  Was there any possibility that the Mercy may have felt overruled much of the time, or like they were continually bending to everyone else’s wishes, or being overlooked, etc. 

Hmmmm.  As a matter of fact, yes, that was indeed possible.

So, I presented the thought that perhaps the Mercy had gotten to the end of their fuse.  They had drawn a line in the sand and said, “I am not bending on one more issue, or giving in one more time.  I have had enough.”  And out came the stubbornness to enforce the decision, a decision that was applied across the board, not on an individual basis.

When this point is reached, the Mercy is making their judgement of resistance based on emotional overload.  I have done it many times.  I get pushed (or I feel pushed) and pushed and finally, I say, “here it stops!” but I am not monitoring the wisdom of making a stand on that particular issue.  I am responding purely to my fuse running out, and I can’t tell you how many times I have looked back and realized that was a ridiculous place to draw a line in the sand.  While it was true that I needed to deal with the emotional tension, I would have been much better off to process the emotions, and then use wisdom to guide my stand, not the length of my fuse. 

So this is for Mercys as well as those around them.

For the Mercys, I would strongly encourage you to monitor your fuses in high traffic areas of your life.  Be aware of how close you are to running out, and how strong the urge is to just take a stand on SOMETHING.  If you are getting close to that point, try to step aside and process some of those emotions, and develop a framework for making better decisions in the future.  If you need to have a discussion with someone, do it.  If now is the time to draw the line, do it.  I am not suggesting you keep putting up with a bad situation.  But I want to make the important distinction between the two motives for the decision.  Use wisdom in selecting when and how and why so that the stand you make is matched to the issue at hand, instead of being randomly chosen based on your emotional state of mind. 

For the non-Mercys, I would use this knowledge as a diagnostic tool, and a way to help a Mercy work back to the source.  If you see a Mercy being stubborn or taking a stand on things that don’t make sense, or the timing is really off, you might approach them and explore the possibility that this is a build-up of some kind.  It may have nothing much to do with the area in which their stubbornness appeared.  If you can go back with them to the place where the emotions starting piling up, you may have better success resolving the issue than questioning the decision itself. 

And since this is something that I have recognized many times in my own life, but have not heard articulated before, I would greatly appreciate feedback from either side of the fence!

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