Folding over the envelope

You can walk through life open or shut down. So how can you stay open and vulnerable without being taken advantage of or setting yourself up for the slaughter? The best skill I have come across for this was taught to me by Bart Anderson. He called it "folding over the envelope".

We tend to view our relationships as "all or nothing". We tend to share every part of ourselves or no part at all. Folding over the envelope starts with walking open and giving people benefit of the doubt. When someone betrays you or demonstrates a lack of integrity, you simply "fold over" that part of your relationship. All the other aspects of your relationship can remain open.

The example that Bart Anderson used to give was: Say you lend someone $20. It is agreed that he will pay you back next Friday when he gets paid. Friday comes and goes and you hear nothing from him. He never pays you back. A few months later he asks to borrow money again. You respond, "Sorry but that aspect of our relationship is no longer available to you."

But... this leaves every other part of the relationship available to share with him.  And, you get to be totally open with these other aspects of the relationship. No need to throw the baby out with the bath water.

So you shut down just the aspect of the relationship that was violated. But, you do not shut yourself down. And, you do not scrap the entire relationship. You share with them to the extent that they are able to share with integrity.

You do have to pay attention to the ongoing parameters of your relationships. I figure- a small price to pay for being open and all that you get to share with people.

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