When Someone's Less Than Kind
We've all been there, on the receiving end of sharp words, icy silence, or heated arguments.
To be here in the world of duality is to experience the less-than-warm-and-fuzzy aspects of humanity. And that means sometimes getting hurt.
We don't all come from the same backgrounds, the same stories, the same perspectives. And sometimes, these stories clash hard against one another.
Sometimes, these stories leave us feeling isolated, defensive, and vulnerable. And this breeds either one of two things: silence or defensive attack. Either way, it's a recipe for misunderstanding, miscommunication, and fear.
Fear tends to give way to wounds.
When we're on the receiving end of an exchange of hurtful energy, there's a few steps we can take to keep from retaliating from Ego. (Because let us be very clear: Ego will always strike out from victim consciousness. It will do anything to stay in the mindset of "not enough," "how dare they," "poor me," "they'll pay," or any other form of fear).
To stay on the path of heart-centred, whole-hearted, empowered, responsible communication is to come from Love rather than Fear. And this is an act of miracles-- an act of courage and vulnerability, to be sure.
It's very, very easy to stay hidden beneath the pain and powerlessness. It's predictable. In some ways, anger and hurt are easier to live in than bravely speaking to clear the air. But it tends to result in attracting the same painful patterns over and over.
So. How do we find our way out of the maze of disjointed and conflicting stories and interpretations?
1) Get curious.
Inspired by step one of Brene Brown's Rising Strong process, this first step just asks us to acknowledge that we're being triggered into hurt, anger, or defensiveness. It's simply stepping into the awareness that the Ego has been activated, or "a button pushed", as Brene says.
2) Give the feeling some air to breathe.
We're quick to repress, deflect, or rush the process of feeling the feeling. Most of us are taught that feelings are bad, and as thus, they should never be felt, let alone seen. We're terrified of the big energy a less than desirable feeling brings up, and we'll do anything to get away from it. (How do you think addictions are fuelled? There are addictions of all kinds, by the way).
Our feelings are the most excellent clues that we're being called to heal an old wounding or story, that we're being called to lift ourselves to a higher level of awareness, or that we're expending our energy in a way that isn't in our highest good. In either case, they're a call to listen up to that inner voice. Deny it, and it'll come calling again until we're willing to listen. The longer we put that voice off, the more entrenched the pattern becomes, the more desperate the voice becomes.
2) Be willing to admit you're in a story.
After giving permission and creating space for the energy of the emotions to move right through, we will find ourselves in a clearing. The raucous energy of the upset is no longer asking for centre stage, so we have some room to asses our perspective and position.
This is similar to meditation in that we've allowed the thoughts to bubble up. We've not resisted and we've also not given them any additional energy. We've simply watched them come and go, playing the role of the witness.
Now, we can see that a story has unfolded before us. Typically, we've cast ourselves in the role of the victim who's been harmed. The perpetrator has said or done something to hurt us, and we stand in judgement.
If we can see that this is a story, we can then begin to consider that the other person has their own perspective of the events.
3) Cultivate a sense of Gratitude.
Gratitude counteracts victim consciousness, which is the place of disempowerment. When we can be thankful for even the less than desirable events, when we look to the lessons there are, when we give thanks for the opportunity to learn, it lightens the load even just a little.
Trusting that we're where we need to be, that our Soul needed this experience, is heart-opening.
4) Give and Take.
Where the rubber meets the road. This is the give and take of perspectives and interpretations. We take a deep breath and are willing to head into conversation owning our interpretation. That is, taking responsibility for the story we've told ourselves. We all tell them. It's a part of being here. A part of the Oneness. This sharing is an act of vulnerability, but speaking to the heart space between us is deeply healing.
Listening to that heart space, we are willing to consider the alternatives to our story. We're willing to bear witness to the vulnerability of those we're in communication with. Compassion, when added to our listening, can only open our hearts further to the possible understanding of where this other story came from wounding.
And what if this communication falls apart? What if the other party is unwilling or not ready to open their end of that heart space? What if there is an unwillingness on their end to consider another story?
In those cases, we surrender. Surrender to the reality that we cannot be responsible nor can we control another's behaviours, thoughts, or perspective.
In most cases, it'll be in our best interest to return to steps 2 and 3, feeling the feelings that have resulted and then revisiting gratitude once again.
In any case, this was a growing opportunity. Coming from vulnerability and sharing from the understanding that we own our story is powerful and healing no matter the outcome. We can still choose to shift ourselves out of victim consciousness to one that is capable of re-writing the story.
We can still choose to walk into freedom, letting go of the labels of "wrong" and "right," letting go of blame.
We can trust we're being called to a space that is in better alignment for us, and that moving into that space required this particular interaction.
We can choose to feel better, to feel happier, to feel lighter by dropping the heaviness of the entire encounter.
Wishing you the closing of gaps, the communion of hearts, and the compassion of empathy and understanding for all.