If you had told me ten years ago I was manipulative or good at manipulating, I would have been offended and very quick to defend. "No, I'm not!"
I can hear the word "manipulation" curling on the lips of grandmother. I liken it to being called a "bigot" or a "baby killer". Let's say, it was anything other than a compliment.
Gary Douglas, the founder of Access Consciousness®, called me on my manipulation skills early on: "If you want to learn how to manipulate, talk to Blossom. She can get anyone to do just about anything."
I wanted to crawl into my skin and die. Why would he say that about me in front of all these people? It felt unkind. Yet his eyes were twinkling and as he calmly sat in front of the class licking an Oreo. He obviously has no problem insulting people in public.
I was about to set in on a pouting routine I had perfected to make him feel bad for saying that, when out from underneath my scowl an unplanned giggle escaped. Why was I laughing? My routine was a bust. And everyone in the room, including myself, now knew I was a manipulator of magnitude.
Manipulation is such an ugly word as we define it today. It means to get what you want at the expense of others. But go back to an older dictionary before the word was contorted and redefined, and manipulation meant "to skillfully or artfully manage."
No sooner had I gotten this idea in my mind that manipulation might actually be an ability rather than a wrongness, I was hooked. I started watching Gary more carefully and asking for more and more awareness. And I couldn't get enough.
What if being good at manipulating was actually an incredibly valuable skill? What if there were ways to go about it where people were empowered and not hurt? What if manipulation, combined with awareness, was an incredibly potent capacity?
I gathered Gary's best rules such as "never confront" and "never defend" and started being more diligent about avoiding those tactics. I watched him throw wedgies at people like "you won't be able to do that" that actually manipulate them into choosing something greater. Manipulation for consciousness. I liked.
Me: "I think I should give him an ultimatum now".
Gary: "No, tell him you are so grateful for him and you will wait any amount of time. Trust me. It will work"
Me: "Gary, what should I say to this person? Will a or b create the result I desire?"
Gary: "Nope, go with c."
I was always surprised by where he was looking from. And even more surprised, it pretty much always created the result I desired.
Gary taught me how to manipulate without taking away the other person's choice. He showed me how to intimidate with insinuation rather than force. I watched him drop comments that made people wonder if their choices were correct, and I wondered how I could use those energies as well. I started to overpay people and to turn up the gratitude. And walls I would have been able to chip away at on my own, in many instances ceased to exist entirely.
The truth is, we all manipulate all the time. We do it with compliments. By acting incapable. By phrasing one thing before the other. We manipulate ourselves to think we are less than or to convince ourselves we are satisfied with what we have.
Everyone manipulates. People either just:
a) judge it so much they negate the effect,
b) are really bad at it and make people feel used, or
c) are so great at it that everything comes to them with ease.
In the last case, you often don't even know they are manipulating.
In the last few years I have come to discover that skillful manipulation leaves people feeling better for having been in your presence. It is neither fake nor put on. It does not exclude being genuine. It is simply having an awareness of what your actions and words will create, and choosing them with skill and care. And boy is it fun!
There is a long list of things I am grateful to Gary Douglas for. His allowance of and then contribution to my manipulation skills, is certainly among the top.
If you are not intentionally choosing your words, your timing and your actions, how much energy are you wasting?
You may wish to ask yourself, "Are you willing to allow getting everything you desire to be way too easy?"
I have a 1 hr radio show on this topic if you'd like to pick up some tools straight away. My gift:
*And if you have done through Choice of Possibilities (Level 3) of Access or are willing to complete that prerequisite soon, I am doing a class on this topic in November. It's called... How To Get Everything You Want (Without Working That Hard.)