An Elephant In The Room & The Art Of Eggshell Dancing!

October 4, 2017

Have you ever walked into a room and had the total icky knowing that you had just been “privately discussed (I mean, gossiped about)” and then felt horribly uncomfortable, ashamed, upset or guilty?  Or, perhaps you have been among a group of people who were the gossipers or nay-sayers, and a new person arrived that wasn’t invited ‘per se’’ or, maybe everyone seemed to know something ‘sticky’ about her personal life… except for her?  And soon, there was a palpable uncomfortable or heavy energy present? 

 

All awkward elephant in the room stuff, right?

 What about this scenario?  Have you ever had the experience of being with a person who seemed to be perpetually ‘on the edge of upset, anger or anxiety’, and you were trying to keep him/her calm or stop him or her from getting triggered into a downward spiral?  I used to play the role of ‘skillful comedian and jokester’ as a key way to lighten our family energy, or rebound everyone from a huge blow up. 

 

Ohhh.. the art of eggshell dancing.

 

Everyone is acquainted with the the elephant in the room and eggshell dancing, yet some people are prone to experiencing these somewhat tricky and uncomfortable phenomena on a very regular basis.  And often to our own detriment. 

 

My jokester role could have been an ok role to play, except it was purely co-depend.  It was an effort to manage or change others’ emotions.  I believed for FAR too many years, that I was indeed responsible for others’ emotional wellbeing.  And secondly, the jokes I would tell were to my own self- betrayal.  I would poke terrible fun of my intelligence and my body shape.  I fully traded myself, betrayed myself for a quick laugh or lightening of mood or energy. 

 

Interestingly, the elephants and eggshells are far-reaching and include a barrage of emotionally harmful habits, limiting beliefs and negative emotional habits.

 

I grew up in a…, how should I put this?  A family system with a wild excellence for enabling and co-dependence – the foundations of elephants and eggshells!  It wasn’t all bad of course, and there was lots of love and care.  But we did learn a few stress-inducing coping skills / defense mechanisms related to elephants and eggshells. 

 

Let’s look at elephants in the room and the art of eggshell dancing one at a time. Below are a few classic characteristics or patterns that go hand in hand with elephant and eggshells

 

The Elephant In The Room

  • Gossiping, judging, condemning

  • Looking to be offended.  In this way, people just seem to always be offended, wronged, experiencing ‘bad luck’ or generally victimized in some way.

  • Overly emotional outbursts are a common denominator among elephant and eggshell situations.

  • A lack of mustering the courage speaking your mind and your truth to others, especially with it feels very difficult, thus leaving ‘silent and negative energy between yourself and others.

  • A lack of handling and effectively solving difficult situations, and instead pretending to ignore them or forget things.  Yet being able to recall said crimes weeks, months or even years later and while continuing to feel negatively about the situation/person involved.

  • A lack of holding others accountable in healthy and loving ways.  Or not giving out appropriate consequences when needed.

  • Not setting or holding strong boundaries (and instead feeling angry, upset, run over or resentful when others breech your boundaries or behave negatively toward you).  A lack of boundaries leaves us emotionally unprotected and vulnerable in potentially painful ways.

  • Not saying no, but instead committing to things you will resent later, but not actually communicating your desires or needs.

 

The Art Of Eggshell Dancing

A few classic characteristics of the ole elephant in the room are as follows:

  • Gossiping, judging, condemning

  • Looking to be offended.  In this way, people just seem to always be offended, wronged, experiencing ‘bad luck’ or generally victimized in some way.

  • Overly emotional outbursts are a common denominator among elephant and eggshell situations.

  • A lack of mustering the courage speaking your mind and your truth to others, especially with it feels very difficult, thus leaving ‘silent and negative energy between yourself and others.

  • A lack of handling and effectively solving difficult situations, and instead pretending to ignore them or forget things.  Yet being able to recall said crimes weeks, months or even years later and while continuing to feel negatively about the situation/person involved.

  • A lack of holding others accountable in healthy and loving ways.  Or not giving out appropriate consequences when needed.

  • Not setting or holding strong boundaries (and instead feeling angry, upset, run over or resentful when others breech your boundaries or behave negatively toward you).  A lack of boundaries leaves us emotionally unprotected and vulnerable in potentially painful ways.

  • Not saying no, but instead committing to things you will resent later, but not actually communicating your desires or needs.

 

“What, wait a minute…. The characteristics look identical?”

 

YEP!  You read correctly! 

 

Where there are elephants, there are also eggshells.  Elephants are extremely large take up an inordinate amount of emotional space, and Eggshells are extremely prickly, painful and cut you emotionally as we create and  walk on them!

 

There are certainly nuances and more characteristics, but in an effort to keep this concept simple, lets think of them as a destructive dynamic duo.

 

Elephants and Eggshells are a dynamic duo of discomfort, upset, suffering, lies, hidden agendas, mistruths, secrecy, hidden feelings, and resentment!  Wow, not that awesome, huh? 

 

Unfortunately, along the way, we learn dramatically fruitless skills that we take on as natural defense mechanisms before even know it or know better.  But in reality Elephants and Eggshells are born of fear, distrust, enabling and co-dependence.  Thankfully there are always paths to healing, elegant solutions and new ways of being.

 

Solutions Anyone?

 

Solutions abound!  You can practice just one new solution habit per year and your life will change dramatically for the better!  Here are a few changes you can make to begin eliminating Elephants and Eggshells!

 

  1. Stop gossiping and therefore judging and condemning others.  If you don’t gossip about others, you will prevent many awkward elephants in the future.  As well as the inevitable guilt and shame that is always present when we interact with people we have recently been gossiping about and judging.  Just stop, it’s that simple!  Choose love and care instead.

  2. Speak your mind EVEN when it feels impossible!  We must grow and strengthen our courage in this area.  Speaking is paramount to joy, fulfillment, peace and love.  Practice, practice, practice!  Your voice and words are valuable and you deserve to be heard.  As you speak your mind, do your best to speak in loving ways.

  3. Set and enforce strong boundaries. We must hold others accountable with boundaries, otherwise, how will they know how WE expect THEM to treat us, interact with us or speak to us?  They don’t.  This is our job and our job only.  It’s never ok to ‘assume’ that others would do things how we would want things done, or speak to us as we would desire, or treat others as we would appreciate.  We can either teach others, or we can accept with a full heart anything and everything THEY choose!  

  4. Ask for what you want and need.  If you don’t ask, you don’t get.  Stop expecting others to ‘just know’ or to ‘read you mind’.  Take the courage and ASK. Otherwise we create elephants and eggshells by gossiping and complaining about what ‘Bob or Mary’ didn’t do, while feeling ‘justifiably resentful’.  Yet, others are not responsible for you, you are 100%responsible for you!  Find yourself deserving enough to ask for what you want and need!

  5. Tell the truth.  We are each responsible for our own emotional reactions and well-being.  You are not sparing anyone by hiding the truth. The truth is just the truth.  And we are protecting NO ONE when we lie and withhold.  Be BRAVE my friends and practice radical honesty.  You will remove mounds of elephants and eggshells when you do!

  6. Hold others accountable and provide LOVING consequences when necessary.  Remember, punishment is born of aggression and violence.  Consequences are loving and learning for all parties involved.  Consequences are meant to course correct, direct, redirect, teach, and love.  When we withhold accountability and consequences, we withhold love as well.

 

It takes great courage to be happy and to remove Elephants and Eggshells.  Learning to be happy is simplistic, yet the practice of courageous action can seem emotionally difficult.  Practice is the key.  Start small if you need to, but do persevere.  The pay off is beyond measure-- calm, peace, emotional safety, deep trust, and beautiful connection.

 

If you’d like support becoming happier, more peaceful, more effective, closer to your partner, work fewer hours (but make more $$), contact us, we’d LOVE to support you!

 

In Love & Liberation,

Shawn Haywood, PhRD

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