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Step Up to the Plate and Think Like a Country

More often than not, when I have a problem and need to make a decision, I ask other people what they would do if they were in my shoes. Then I decide whether to follow their advice or … ask someone else!

I’ve always thought of this as due diligence, but if I’m honest with myself, the real reason I ask for input is NOT so that I can weigh all my options judiciously like King Solomon; it’s just that I can’t be bothered to decide for myself. It’s easier to ask someone else. In other words, I’ve been lazy.

This got me thinking. What if I were a country? How would I manage my affairs?

If I were a country…

I’d take responsibility. I’d have no choice but to seek my own solutions. Other countries are too busy to spend their precious resources solving my problems, or else too nationalistic to give me an answer that doesn’t serve their own needs. Besides, no two countries have exactly the same challenges, given their different combinations of geography, climate, population, language, culture, economy, history and sociopolitical landscape.

I’d have self-respect, knowing I am my own highest authority. Other countries’ opinions would hardly matter if my inhabitants were in real trouble. I would figure out what was wrong and work toward solutions, utilizing all my native resources with the understanding that ultimately I answer to only myself, my values and my vision.

I’d have integrity. I would never seek out war, but neither would I shy away from conflict if the well-being of my people were at stake; I would protect myself from invasion and exploitation at any cost.

I hope the metaphor of a country will help me remember my responsibility to myself, remind me to respect my own authority, and give me the strength to be firm with others instead of nicey-nice, when need be.

About Tina Gilbertson

Tina Gilbertson is a psychotherapist, speaker and author based in Denver, Colorado. She specializes in supporting parents of estranged adult children through therapy, consulting and other resources, and offers assertiveness training and executive coaching for organizations. The author of "Constructive Wallowing: How to Beat Bad Feelings by Letting Yourself Have Them" and the "Guide for Parents of Estranged Adult Children," Tina is often featured in the media as an expert on communication and relationships. Her blog on PsychologyToday.com is called "Constructive Wallowing."
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