I wasn’t sure about creating this video. It is a hard concept to teach and implement, but it is SO helpful! I know that doing what I do, I have a different view on a lot of things. I have sat with people whose beliefs don’t match mine, but once I learn more about them, I can see how those beliefs came to be. I don’t hold anger toward people whose experience hasn’t taught them what mine has. It’s about curiosity, not changing someone, in the beginning. In order to help someone cross a bridge, you need to know where they are so you can meet them there. You can’t just demand they cross a bridge they can’t see the value of crossing yet.
When we get angry, there is a dual process happening. One is that we are being triggered by something inside of us that is sensitive and often unresolved/uncomfortable. The other thing that is happening is that we stop seeing anything but our viewpoint. That combination shuts out possibility and creates dangerous tunnel vision thinking.
If I can’t see the client in front of me as someone having valid-to-them beliefs, what kind of counselor am I? Can I claim to be empathetic if I am steadfast in m own beliefs having to be that of everyone else? Or does it serve me better to hit the wonder button on what’s heating me up so I can not only discover why I am feeling reactive but also continue to see others as humans doing the best they can access in any given moment.
There are always exceptions, and it’s really hard for me to hit pause on people who hurt others or commit violent acts. But if the judicial and prison systems have taught us anything, it’s that punitive consequences aren’t working. Things that make us angry are not helped by anger and punishment. They are helped by understanding what the root cause is and going from there.
The example that comes to my head is being in an argument with a friend who is being inflammatory, slinging insults, and generally just pushing buttons. I have a choice in that moment to match and accomplish a bigger flame that no one can focus on extinguishing, or I can roll into wondering about what is happening both in myself but also in the other person that is triggering these reactions. Is that person highly insecure and feels that this is how they feel empowered? Are they a person with a horrible life experience in this area that is causing them to enter into survival mode where attacking feels like ensuring safety? Because if any of those things are true, they are not able to hear me telling them about how “wrong” they are. Just like I am not listening to how right they think they are.
I can lessen my own anger by humanizing the experience of others, “right” or “wrong”. The goal is my peace first, and perhaps planting seeds or offering compassion second. This tool helps me do that, with a lot of things that can easily steal my peace. It’s not about letting people off the hook. It’s about effective problem solving between both me and the issue, and me and the shadow in me that causes it to be an issue.
Thank you, Universe, for this download to share.