Opinion: Wisdom Workout 

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Come Home to Yourself 

By Susan McNeal Velasquez

Are you familiar with the term Machiavellianism? The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “the employment of cunning and duplicity in state craft or general conduct. In psychology, it is used to describe a person’s tendency to deceive and manipulate others for personal gain.

In the 1960’s, Richard Christie and Florence Geis developed a test for measuring a person’s level of Machiavellianism. People scoring above 60 out of 100 on the MACH-IV are considered High Macs who endorse statements such as, “Never tell anyone the real reason you did something unless it is useful to you to do so” or “The best way to handle people is to tell them what they want to hear.”

People scoring below 60 out of 100 tend to believe “There is no excuse for lying to someone” or “Most people who get ahead in the world lead moral lives.”

High Mach’s support the statement,” The end justifies the means.” Therefore, the result of an action is considered valuable enough to overlook the method used to get that result.

Have you had the experience of being lied to, betrayed, or cheated out of something that was rightfully yours and then been told not to take it personally? “It’s just business.” “Our actions were unfortunate but necessary.” “It’s a dirty job, but someone had to do it.”

Distaste for politics or big business often comes from being the recipient of underhanded tactics covered over by pat phrases that excuse dishonesty and sanction low integrity in the name of the bottom line.

Abusive behavior comes packaged in many forms. One of the trickiest situations to navigate is when your livelihood is at stake, and your safety and security become threatened. Do you fight or flee? Do you freeze, collapse, or do you rage? Do you blame yourself for being out of control? Do you threaten or beg for some kind of rational resolve?

Depending upon the seriousness of the situation, it is likely that you will do all of the above in the process of coming to terms with what is happening to you.

When surprised by unanticipated outcomes, it is natural to take it personally. Your life is being impacted. Often, your first reaction will be defensiveness and outrage.

Your pain is compounded if you have no opportunity to express yourself. “So sorry, but the decision is out of my hands. It came from ‘the higher ups.’ “I am afraid there is nothing that can be done.”

This is the kind of challenge that will test your values. When your ethics require you to uphold a high level of personal honesty and integrity, yet you are confronted by a situation where the people you are dealing with don’t share your beliefs about how business should be conducted, explosive and disruptive outcomes are often the result.

When the life you’ve known packs up and leaves, it is devastating, heartbreaking and terrorizing. Surviving the trauma of unexpected loss takes time. Healing time, sorting time, time to tell your story until you are sick of hearing it.

If you are suffering from a major loss, give yourself the gift of generous, extravagant patience. Come home to yourself. Coming home means revisiting what you have been doing with your life and how you can create more satisfaction as you make new choices. 

If you have been using all of your energy to fight or flee the perils of demanding challenges, it may be time to choose a new path. Hold tight to your needs, your desires and your values. They represent your core, your essence. They are your most valuable soul treasures.  

Susan started her career in the human potential industry in San Francisco in the mid-70s and is the author of Beyond Intellect: Journey into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind. www.susanvelasquez.com. 

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