One of the things I love about the relational practice of nonviolence is how it frees me up to field a much wider range of responses from other people, without losing access to my compassion, courage or grounded clarity.
A few weeks ago I wrote about the importance of self-trust and suggested three kinds of self-trust that I think are foundational to our sense of safety in our relationships:
- Trusting ourselves to see things clearly
- Trusting our inner goodness and worth
- This week: Trusting that we can handle a wide range of responses from others while still protecting ourselves from harm
Take a moment to reflect:
- What responses from others are you finding particularly challenging to field while keeping yourself safe?
- What insights, skills and capacities would you like to develop to grow stronger interpersonal muscles?
When we aren’t taking things personally, or getting identified with other people’s opinions or treatment of ourselves, we have more wisdom available to us in any given moment.
What helps us do this? Here are three practices:
- Wake up to our implicit conditioning and see it for what it is, instead of identifying with it. We’ve all inherited a set of beliefs about and adaptations to a violent, domination-based world. Our practice is to see through our conditioning (compassionately!), and learn how not to identify with that aspect of ourselves so that we can become more co-creative and compassionate towards ourselves and others.
- Understand how feelings and needs drive human behavior. When we understand the pain, fear and history driving people’s unconscious reactions, and put our attention on what they are needing in the present moment, we often feel less fear, anger or panic. We can stay more connected to the curious, choiceful and compassionate parts of ourselves when we aren’t hijacked by fear.
- Focus on what would help by separating out people’s tragic strategies from their underlying needs, and then prioritizing meeting people’s needs. All forms of violence on the planet would decrease dramatically if we collectively committed to developing a deep needs-focused approach with ourselves and one another.
Do you have a practice that helps? I’d love to know. Leave a comment below!