Privilege Literacy: Why we Need to Know About the Effects of Power, Privilege and Status to Live Nonviolently
Our brains make patterns out of everything to save effort. But this has consequences on both how we treat others and on our ability to live nonviolently. The more we know about our own patterns, the more choice we have. Read on to learn our most important tendencies in groups, and what we can do in response.
When you want to be heard, first check if your listener is available. This honors yourself, and the other person’s choice about listening. You need to be clear about wanting a particular quality of listening, and that you are willing to wait if that isn’t available in the moment. Read on for how to ask for listening in a way that can build trust that your request isn't a demand.
Our pattern-making minds make predictions about how best to survive in the world. So deep wounds from our past can influence our minds to make life long generalizations that harden into core beliefs about groups of people. Read on for a demonstration of how empathy can shift these wounds and thus the core beliefs.
There's reactive anger - the sudden outbursts of words, temper or action that create a nervous system response in another. And then there's the anger that's a reaction to someone's anger -- a nervous system startle-response. Instead of either of these, we can learn to heal with empathy, look for unequal power dynamics, take responsibility to make repairs, and shift into the clean, life-serving, fully expressed anger and love.
We can cultivate spiritual clarity through bringing attention to our intentions, mourning, gratitude, and the dynamic flow of feelings and needs. This can bring more autonomy, choice and liberate the energy of connection and contribution. We can also awaken our hearts to see the reality that our well-being is mutually interdependent. Read on for more.
Anger can result in violence or in a movement towards positive change. We can see this happen in the push for racial justice. When you perceive anger as a form of violence your nervous system becomes activated. Your perspective narrows and old conditioning can take over leading to overwhelm, defensiveness, hatred, or violence. Read on for four ways to to respond to our own or others' anger in a way that mobilizes desired change.
When conflict or criticism occurs, we can notice two layers of meaning to create connection: the content and the needs the speaker is holding. When we are able to recognize this --and ideally engage open-heartedly, with curiosity, make clear requests, imagining what they want, no matter how their expression was framed -- we have more opportunity to support the longevity of our relationships, and to decrease our loneliness when together.
Trainer tip: If you are in a relationship (whether personal or work related) that you are not happy with, consider talking to the other person in an effort to connect about both your needs. Talking about it doesn’t guarantee that you will like the resolution, but not talking about it guarantees continued unhappiness. Read on for more.
When something happens that we don't like no amount of resentment nor magical thinking will make it disappear. Instead, we can mourn to dissolve our own resistance, resentment, and numbness of resignation. Mourning can allow us to feel pain with acceptance, and without needing to be okay with what happened. Acceptance can bring us to a place where even all the anguish in the world is fully, part of life.
Here are two practices for connecting with "request energy". One of them helps us practice in the moment (7 steps). The other one helps us connect to ourselves (11 steps).