#042 – Are you aware of your manipulation of other people?

Have you heard about the idea of positive manipulation?


Question of the week - Positive manipulation - Flemming ChristensenEvery time we communicate, we are trying to manipulate others. At its core, manipulation is the intention to make other people agree with you and then have people take action in doing or not doing something specific.


It is a mechanism that can be done with or without awareness and consciousness. Without awareness and consciousness, it can be a psychological structure running on autopilot and be a strong part of someone’s personality, and with awareness and consciousness, it can be used with a certain finesse in coaching, therapy, art, entertainment where people being manipulated agree that a certain agreed framework is present.


On the positive side, “Manipulation” can help and guide people to review their perspectives on a certain case. Used in coaching and therapy, the client can experience new insights about themselves to help them grow and develop. I am here thinking about any kind of gestalt therapy, narrative therapy, hypnosis, positive psychology interventions etc. where the client agrees to a certain way of communication. Positive manipulation can also be a process towards ourselves as positive self-talk, visualizations, journaling etc.


An example of good autonomy could be Jane Goodall when she conducted her groundbreaking work with chimpanzees, where she both used positive manipulation in her research of the chimpanzees and in her way of guiding the world to understand the importance of wildlife conservation. Mother Teresa also used positive manipulation to bring attention to the plight of the impoverished and sick, effectively mobilizing resources and support for humanitarian causes.


On the negative side, “Manipulation” could be the negative manipulation of the tobacco industry, manipulating scientific research and public opinion regarding the health effects of smoking, contributing to public health crises. A case of negative manipulation would also be when the automotive giant Volkswagen was found to have manipulated emission test results for their diesel engines, affecting millions of cars worldwide.


Your weekly question


Because manipulation happens when communicating with others, the practice of self-awareness and consciousness is the key to avoiding negative manipulation. This week’s question is about the timing of your manipulative energy.


  • How are you conscious about when you manipulate in a negative way?
  • Do you know how to use positive manipulation towards yourself and others?
  • How do you act when others are manipulating you in a negative way?




Your weekly quote


In the hands of the wise, manipulation is a tool for healing, growth, and unity; in the hands of the ignorant, it is a weapon for division and despair.




Your weekly recommended reading


Read my favorite book about zen mind and self awareness


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