Negotiations are a part of SATYA – truthfulness.

Why is it when men negotiate, it’s just business, but when women negotiate it’s personal?

Apparently I am a pretty tough negotiator. When we bought our first house, we first offered $8,000 less than the asking price. (It was already priced low.) They countered with $3,000 less than the asking price. My husband was ready to take it – so was my agent. But not me.

We ended up settling on $5,000 less than the asking price.

Durga sisters enjoying some beginning relaxation after some intense chanting. Doing internal negotiations. 

A great deal, all in all. But if we wouldn’t have asked, we wouldn’t have gotten it. And if would have been up to the two men I was with, we would have paid an extra two grand that obviously we didn’t need to pay. I was called a tough negotiator, but I was right. And it was good.

Recently I’ve been watching Mad Men via Netflix. In the first season, the main character, Don Draper, is being schmoozed by another advertising firm to switch jobs. They offered extra pay and more opportunities, but ultimately Don decided to stay with the company where he was. However, this didn’t lead him to not negotiate. He still marched into his boss’s office, told him he planned to stay, and they negotiated. It was fast. They went back and forth a few times, and finally settled somewhere in the middle. As all great negotiations should be.

Part of the job with self employment is negotiations. I negotiate all of the time, with individual clients, with students in class, with companies for whom I work. It’s not the most pleasant part of what I do, but it’s necessary.

Negotiating is a big part of Patanjali’s second yama, satya.

Satya is truthfulness. As Deborah Adele writes in her book, The Yamas and the Niyamas, “the jewel of Satya, or truthfulness, isn’t safe, but it is good. …If we don’t approach truth ‘with our knees knocking,’ we haven’t really understood the profoundness of this guideline.”

So truth isn’t safe, but it is good. What is true for you? In business and in negotiations – what can you honestly commit to, and at what cost? What is the price at which you will no longer ruminate and moan about how you wish you were paid more? In relationships – what can you honestly commit to, and at what cost? What is it that you’re really seeking out of this relationship, and are you getting it? Are you giving your share in return?

Truth isn’t safe, but it is good. Negotiations are not comfortable conversations. Relationship conversations are not comfortable conversations. The truth asks us, not to be nice or to take care of one another’s feelings, but to be real. What is YOUR truth?

Of course, we combine this always with the first yama of ahimsa  – nonviolence. The grandmother of them all. We can be real, of course, without being violent. Does this mean sometimes disappointing others when you stand up for your personal truths? Yes, of course. Does it mean you call them names or give them the silent treatment when you don’t get your way? No, of course not.

There is a way to be both real and nonviolent. The problem with satya, for most of us – or at least most women – is that we seem stuck in this people-pleasing mode.

Last Sunday we held our Durga workshop. The weirdness of last week continued this week, with a fire in Yoga Patch, that made us move our workshop to the OM room of Phys Ed KC. But seven Durga warrior sisters and I gathered to unite together in divine feminine communion, to learn about the warrior goddess Durga and her ability to stand in her strength, courage, and her truth – to live authentically.

Much of what the attendeees talked about was this need to people please. A fear of taking action because of how their ideas or their viewpoints might be interpreted. These women were silenced by their own need to “be nice,” thus violating the principles of satya and ignoring their own personal truths.

We’ve all been there, men and women. There’s a part in all of us that wants to be accepted, but this is part of satya as well: the desire for growth and expansion over the desire to fit in and belong. Stepping out there, negotiating your price, standing up for yourself in a faltering relationship – it requires some cahones. Like Debra says, telling our truth isn’t safe, but it is good.

  • In what ways are you ignoring your own personal truths?
  • Do you struggle with negotiations – and if so, why? Do you know your own worth?
  • Where do you suffocate your personal growth and truth for the need to people please? Are you ready to change that – and step into the land where it isn’t safe, but it is good?

Thoughts for your Monday. Happy first day of Spring!

Durga goddess sisters.

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