- Ricka Robb Kohnstamm
Whom do you accommodate and why?
The concept of "accommodation" can be appealing on many levels...
"I will accommodate your need for sleep by taking the kids out of the house on Sunday morning."
"I would appreciate it if you can accommodate my need for order by wiping out the bathroom sink after you use it."
"We can accommodate our team members' need for work/life balance by supporting remote work."
Those are examples of healthy, differentiated accommodation that is done willingly and for the greater good.
But what happens when "accommodation" slips and slides and winds its way into the cracks and crevices of unhelpful patterns?
"Let's not talk about that in front of your father, he will blow up and ruin the evening..."
"If we don't continue to support her financially, who knows what will happen?"
"I don't have anything to say, I will let others speak..."
That kind of accommodation limits our understanding of ourselves and others. It puts a cap on what is possible, fueled by scarcity.
What is at the roots of unhealthy accommodation?
"I am afraid..."
"I don't believe you are capable..."
"I can't sit with the discomfort..."
"I don't believe in myself..."
"Conflict is scary..."
"Speaking my truth threatens my relationships..."
As you think about whom you accommodate and why, here are three things to consider...
Pay attention: lift up patterns and habits for discernment. Do you accommodate a request you later regret when you are caught by surprise? Do you accommodate requests by one particular family member to avoid conflict? Do you regularly give yourself an "out" in group discussions because of the discomfort of being vulnerable?
Notice dissonance: Is your behavior aligned with your values? For instance, if "courage" is one of your top five values and you regularly bow out of courageous conversations to accommodate yourself (and/or others), notice. Feel the dissonance in your body. Consider courageous options instead. What would they look like? What would it feel like?
Differentiate and take responsibility for your own voice: Notice, pause, realign your thoughts and your actions to make sure your accommodations serve a healthy purpose for others and for yourself, and then speak from an "I" perspective, always with kindness. "I choose to..." "I am willing to..." "I want to..."
As always, actions, aligned with values, support optimal health.