Getting What You Want (And Being Liked for It)
Getting What You Want (And Being Liked For It). The
sections excerpted cover the power of "Direct Anger" and "Positive
Direct anger is healthy anger. Essentially
it is the main tool to get what you want. It is absolutely essential for success in using
the "Lewis Approach." In direct anger you take responsibility to communicate to
another exactly what your needs are, how they can be met, and instruct the person to do
that for you. You assume full responsibility for getting your needs met. Direct anger
gives clear and concise instructions on how to please you.
Using direct anger, you utilize action words
which instruct people how to please you, emphasizing the importance the issue has to you.
This taps into the innate desire in human nature to want to please others. People like
pleasing others. We all do. You also directly instruct people what to do for you to meet
your needs and make you happy. You do not depend on the other person to "figure
out" what you want, even if you think they should know this. Your responsibility is
to help people to meet your needs.
By utilizing direct anger, you empower the
person to have the knowledge, ability and motivation to please you. Direct anger is also a
change agent; it creates the change you want (i.e., getting your needs met). Your
situation or position changes from one state of mind to another. Direct anger allows you
to effectively resolve any differences much faster because it focuses the problem-solving
process on the issue (i.e., what you want) and helps things to progress more smoothly and
Using Direct Anger
How then do you use direct anger? Begin your
sentences with an action verb. Use actions words (verbs) that direct, clarify, and
instruct. Start sentences with words such as: Go, Do, Give, Take, Tell, Handle, Remove,
Explain, Describe, Let, Allow, Say, Be, etc. The following are examples of phrases to
"Tell me if you can get here by three
"Go to the store for me."
"Give me time to think about
These words make it easier for the other
person to do what you want them to do for you. They also give the person the option to
exercise their free will. Give them clear and concise guidelines on how to please you and
what would make you happy. Implicit in all this: You are telling the other person how to
be successful with you.
Direct Anger = Loving Yourself
One of the most important points about
direct anger is: It is loving to the person expressing and to the person receiving. You
express love to yourself when you focus on getting your own needs met and communicating
what makes you happy. And it expresses love for the person receiving because it empowers
them to be a success with you. You are telling them what to do for you to make you happy;
and when they feel that they made you happy, they feel pleased. When we get our needs met,
we essentially feel loved.
For example, you may ask a guest to spend
more time with you. But they may have another engagement. Your responsibility is to tell
the person the importance their staying has to you: "I know you have to go, but stay
a little while longer. It is important to me. I'd appreciate it."
At this point, both of you will most likely
have a clear picture of what would make each of you happy. The person might respond:
"I'll stay five more minutes and then leave." You might reply, "Okay.
Lets arrange for you to stay longer next time. Tell me if that works for you."
Here is a detailed example of the power and
effectiveness of Using Direct Anger. Firstly, however, we will show how people use passive
anger--typically what people who are in a dependent position use.
A couple, John and Mary, had recently split
up. John had Mary's CD player and Mary wanted it back. Here's their conversation:
Mary: "I want my CD player back."
John: "I'm not going to give you your
CD player back until you give me my picture back."
Mary: "What picture?"
John: "The one that I gave you two
Mary: "That's my picture. You gave it
John: "Well, I had to give you your TV
back. What about that?"
Mary: "I only loaned that to you. I
didn't give that to you."
Based on this dialog, do you think Mary will
get her CD player back? We don't think so. At this point, Mary felt she needed to take a
Mary: "If you don't give me my CD
player back, I will sue you."
Do you think this will work? Johns
response? He decided hed take a stronger position:
John: "Oh yeah? Well Ill sue you
too, for the cost of my fixing your car."
These two statements of John and Mary may
sound forceful or powerful to you. The fact is, they are very weak. No one is getting
anything and there is no resolution in sight. If they were to actually act on their
threats, each of them would expend much energy, time, and money--and theyd still be
very upset with each other!
What is happening here? No one is taking
responsibility for getting their needs met! Both John and Mary are totally depending on
the other person to meet their needs. This situation could have been successfully resolved
if one of them became more selfish about their needs and used direct anger to get those
To illustrate the power and effectiveness of
using direct anger, here is the conversation using direct anger.
Mary: "John, give me my CD player
John: "I'm not going to give you your
CD player back until you give me my picture back."
Mary: "I understand you want your
picture back and well talk about that in a minute. In the meantime, arrange to
return my CD player back this weekend when I am home."
John: "Well, will I get my picture
Mary: "I can understand what you are
saying. But, let's talk about your returning my CD player. Arrange to bring it back on
Saturday. I would appreciate that."
John: "Youre gonna have to sue me
Mary: "No, don't tell me to sue you.
Make it easy for me and bring my CD player back this Saturday. I would like that."
John: "Why should I bring it back to
Mary: "John, go out of your way for me.
It is important for me to get my CD player back. Do this for me."
John: "Well, what are you gonna to do
for me? You always want me to do things for you. What will you do for me."
Mary: "Don't ask me to do anything for
you. Make me happy and bring back my CD player this Saturday. I'd really like that."
Do you think John is now more likely to
return Mary's CD player in this situation? We think so. Personally, we have had this
situation happen many times. In every instance, each person got what he or she wanted.
Even if John did not return the CD player, both of them would feel a lot better as a
result of this dialogue. More than likely, if this type of conversation continued over a
period of time, John would eventually return the CD player. When John did return the CD
player, Mary would then thank him for doing so. She could tell him how happy it made her
or how this pleased her. We must always reward people for pleasing us. When you
acknowledge that you got what you wanted, you dont feel guilty. Again, another
healthy result of the use of direct anger.
Anger is Like "Emotional"
Anger is like "emotional" money.
When you feel frustrated, anxious, fearful, worried, disappointed, etc., view these
feelings of anger as money. Why? All of these feelings represent your needs not being met;
your not getting what you want. Use your anger (direct), as you would use money: to get
what you want.
We use money to buy what we want: food,
clothing, candy, movies tickets, etc. If we have the money, we can buy whatever we want.
In short, we can get what we want with the use of money. But, when you use passive anger
(become upset, shout, blame others, etc.) you will not get anything for your
"money." View this type of anger ("emotional" money) like counterfeit
money; people will not honor it. Instead, they will resist or fight you. Replace using
that type of "money" (passive anger) and get something for your
"money" by using direct anger. Direct anger is like using real
"money." You use this "money" (direct anger) to tell people how to do
things for you and give you want you want. People will honor this "money."
Remember, the main reason for anger: we are
not getting our needs met. Our progress is being blocked, either physically, emotionally
or spiritually. Our anger serves to give us the energy to get our needs met or to remove
barriers that impede our progress.
When we view anger from the perspective of
"money," we begin to see how our anger can be used to our advantage--to get what
we want. Then we can focus our anger effectively.
For example, Philip bought a sports car and
showed his girlfriend Alice.
Alice: "Does it seat children?"
Philip: "You are so stupid! Of course
not. What happened to your common sense?"
Alice: "You are the one thats
stupid. Why are you buying a car like that? You cant even afford it."
Philip: "How do you know what I can
afford? You cant do anything right yourself; you cant keep a job, you
cant keep a clean house. How do you think you can take care of your children if you
can barely take care of yourself?"
Alice: "You are the one who lost your
job. Youre such an idiot. You spend you life savings on a car when you dont
even have a job."
In this example, each person is using anger
(money) passively and getting "nothing for their money."
How could Alice use anger like money? After
Philips verbal abuse, she could say:
Alice: "Stop talking to me like that
and be nicer to me."
Philip: "Im not going to be nice
to you. You are not nice to me."
Alice: "Philip, be nice to me and say
things good about me. Id like that."
Philip: "Why should I?"
Alice: "I understand that. Just be nice
to me. Id appreciate that."
In this instance, Alice is using her anger
like money (direct anger) to get what she wanted: for Philip to be nicer to her. In doing
so, she focused on telling him how to talk to her in a way that she liked. Use your anger
like money to instruct people what to do for you or how to give you what you want.
Lets consider a situation where you
use anger (money) but do not get anything in return. In this case, your money (anger) is
being wasted. For example, if a friend criticized you for eating junk food and you felt
upset and became angry, you could use this anger as money.
You might respond: "You always
criticize me about the food I eat."
Your friend: "You told me you wanted a
You: "Well, that was yesterday."
Your Friend: "You always change your
mind. I never know what you want."
You: "If you were really concerned
about me, you would know."
Obviously, here the anger (money) is not
being used to get what you want. The conversation is going nowhere, nor does it sound
friendly or beneficial to anyone. Your friend does not seem to be getting what she wants
either. Both are expending lots of anger (money) and getting nothing. No matter how much
anger you expend here, you are not getting what you want. This type of fruitless
interaction occurs frequently with people. Then they wonder why they are not satisfied.
Lets discuss the flip-side of this
example. Your friend tells you that you are eating junk food. As soon as you feel the
anger build inside you think of your anger as being money. Your next thought is, what do
you want to get for your money (anger): To tell the other person to do something for you.
This is an important point to emphasize. To do this, you have to figure out what you want.
Do you really want your friend to refrain from criticizing the food you eat and let you
enjoy it? You could tell your friend to join you in eating. Or, you could tell them to
discuss the topic of food and diet next week. The important thing is: to get what you want
from the other person with your real money (direct anger) by telling them to do something
for you! You dont use it to throw your counterfeit money (passive anger) all over
the place with insults and judgments of the other person and wind up with nothing but
hostility coming back at you.
Sometimes we think we may get what we want
by criticizing others. This doesnt works. Criticism only stirs resentment. Its
like "burning a bridge" with another person. You figure if the other person
wont give you what you want, you might as might as well get the satisfaction of
insulting or criticizing that person. However, this may sound justified, but it is not.
Why? You now have made the person angry with you, and they may verbally attack you.
Further, when you criticize someone, you automatically experience natural feelings of
guilt. Anytime you criticize someone, even if they deserve it, you will have some sense of
It is important to emphasize here that if
you do not use the anger to get what you want, the anger will build up inside of you and
cause you to feel bad or depressed. Direct anger is a positive tool to help you get what
you want. Moreover, it fuels you with the necessary energy to get your needs met. If you
do not use this healthy anger to get your needs met, you remain unsatisfied and
frustrated, which further increases the anger within you. Then depression sets in. Avoid
these unpleasant and negative feelings and use the real money (direct anger) to get what
you want. Youll please yourself as others please themselves simultaneously. It
One way to help you get through another
persons resistance is to give the person a positive acknowledgment. Use positive
words to give the other person credit. This will influence their reaction to you and they
will respond in a way that is more pleasing. Giving credit means you respect the
persons opinion or viewpoint, even if you dont particularly like what
theyve said. The use of a positive acknowledgment is designed to help shift the
person from being critical or judgmental to being more positive and accepting of you. It
diminishes their need or desire to resist. Additionally, it disarms the other person, in a
non-confrontational way, because they feel accepted by you. They feel heard and
understood. They now have less a need to be critical, judgmental, or aggressive with you.
Another aspect of positive acknowledgment is
that it automatically puts you in the authoritative role in a way that is acceptable to
the other person. Why? Because you take the initiative in determining what is good or
acceptable about what theyve said, and giving them credit for that--whether you
agree or not. Using a positive acknowledgment can also be used very effectively with
people who are already in a positive state of mind. It will further them to support your
Use a positive acknowledgment statement
primarily when someone is being critical or judgmental, which may make you feel
uncomfortable. Positive acknowledgment statements can also be very effective when dealing
with aggressive people. It helps defuse the persons (passive) anger with you, even
if youve done something to hurt, frustrate or discomfort them. People will be more
receptive and listen to what you are saying when you first use a positive acknowledgment.
Further, it provides you with a lead--in to using direct anger to tell the person what to
do for you to make you happy or to feel more comfortable. This also makes it much easier
for you to not take on the other persons problem.
In short, using a positive acknowledgment
statement sets the tone for a positive conversation between yourself and the person. You
invariably will have more success with people when you deal with them within a positive
framework rather than a negative one. Then people will see you as being more confident,
secure, decisive, and in control. These qualities all convey a sense of ease, security,
and reassurance. People will like you more, respond to you better, and they will think
that you like them more. Moreover, when you are in a positive position, people will feel
freer to express their true viewpoint about things, reassured that they would not be
criticized by you.
Lets look at some positive
acknowledgment examples. If you are being criticized, judged, or verbally attacked by
someone, use positive acknowledgment statements:
A. "Thank you for coming to me and
helping me to understand the problem."
B. "I'm glad you are telling me how you
C. "Thanks for taking the time to go
over this with me."
People hearing these responses do not feel
threatened or offended. They feel accepted. Again, you are in the authoritative role:
telling others what is good or acceptable about what they are saying to you. Now you are
in a position to start using direct anger to tell the person what to do for you.
For example, if a person says: "You
made a mistake today! You were supposed to call before you came over here. You know I am
not ready." What is that persons problem? They are concerned about being ready.
This is the persons insecurity, not yours. This is an ideal time to use a positive
acknowledgment statement. Your response: A. "Thanks for telling me that." B.
"I appreciate your concern about my coming over." C. "I can see what you
are saying about that." This sets up this conversation as more neutral and less
confrontational. The person is upset with you, but you have neutralized the verbal attack
on you. When most people accuse you of doing something to them, they automatically expect
you to defend your position or attack back. Using the positive acknowledgment gives people
a response they do not expect. You have given them credit and acceptance for what they
have said. This, then, decreases their motivation to continue their verbal attack on you.
All of these benefits make your life easier with that person, and they like you more as
Another way to reduce peoples
resistance: Be as clear as possible with the person about what you want them to do for
you. The more they understand what you want them to do, the easier it will be for them to
reduce their resistance. Use as much "positive selfishness" as you can. Think of
yourself being a teacher who is providing all the necessary information a persons
needs to be a success with you.
You might say: "Go to the movies with
me next Saturday at 8:00 p.m. I would really like that." Dont say: "Do you
feel like going to the movies?" The first statement is clear and specific about what
you want (positive selfishness)). You are telling the person what to do to make you happy.
You have also given a specific date and time. The second statement, which is actually a
question, is not really clear as to what you want the person to do to make you happy. One
might assume that you want the person to go to the movies with you, but that is not clear.
In reality, you may not really want to see a movie. Moreover, a question conveys a sense
of indecisiveness or even apprehension. This may create anxiety in the other person, which
can cause them to resist.
Continue this process of being as clear as
you can about what you want, and express the importance the issue has to you. The person
will eventually be able "borrow your confidence." If they lack sufficient
strength to overcome their own resistance, they will be able to use your strength, which
arises from using "positive selfishness."
Often we assume that the other person knows
what we want them to do for us. Never assume this. Seldom do others really knows what you
want exactly without you telling them. Even if they did, theyd do what you wanted in
their way, not yours. And this might not please you. Weve all heard statements such
as: "Well, he should have know that I don't like that?" This happens all of the
time. Assuming others should know forces them to either guess or go through a
trial-and-error process to give us what we want. This is too difficult and frustrating.
People end up resisting and you end up not getting what you want. To avoid this, be as
clear as you can about what you want. Then use positive acknowledgment statements to
overcome resistance. Both parties will enjoy better communication and a happier
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