Some arguments stay stuck because each person thinks it's about the content of the argument, rather than the needs each person is attempting to protect. When the needs get attached to the strategies a "no way out" scenario gets created. Instead, fully step into one another's worlds and connect to the feelings and needs behind the strategy each party is putting forth. Read on for six elements to creating empathic connection.
For this practice assume that reactivity is arising any time you are distracted and not enjoying something. Practice throughout the day by focusing for a few moments on something specific that you find pleasing. Notice the sensation of joy or pleasure in your body, and hold attention there longer than usual. This interrupts tension and contraction. Keep remembering to do this. When you go too long without directing your attention in this way, the practice becomes less accessible.
There are three things you can do to sort inner conflict and make doable, sustainable agreements with yourself. This capacity can build trust with yourself to follow through, and to develop diverse and creative solutions -- thereby increasing confidence and ease.
We each hold an internal model or set of expectations about how caring and comfort could be accessed in relationship. The ability to reflect upon and challenge our own dominant model of perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors --and to experience discomfort and vulnerability-- is a key feature of "security". If not, an "attachment reactivity" arises -- where sense of insecurity, separateness, and belief that love, and acceptance can't be trusted nor accessed reliably. Thus change would require intensive support. Here's a guide to help you reflect and access change.
Has someone ever talked to you to the extent that you're no longer enjoying it, and you now wonder if they even know you're there? Learn ways to bring in emotional understanding, engage more honestly and open-heartedly, and bridge next steps to the type of conversation that engages everyone's needs.
An anchor awakens parts of you that can access a bigger perspective. It calms and helps you engage presence for greater access to your skills. Also, it can reduce your reactivity, increase conscious relating, and support self-compassion. An anchor helps you get a little bit bigger than the reactivity you are experiencing so that you can access a wiser discernment. It is simple, and can be done anytime and anywhere. Learn more about how to develop your anchor in self-empathy.
There are various ways to be known. Learn how to engage and make clear requests accordingly. This includes getting clear in yourself about what exactly you want known; communicating how important it is to you; sharing examples in your life of being known; requesting and negotiating from the energy of the met need; letting the other person know whether or not the relationship is really sustainable for you if the need goes unmet long-term; and checking the other person's capacity.
Differentiation is being who you are in the presence of who they are. Its a process of connecting to and honoring your own experience, acting in integrity with your values, and engaging in collaboration with others to meet needs. If you're happier when you are not in an intimate relationship you may have developed your individuality but likely have difficulty with differentiation. Learn core skills and behaviors that support differentiation.
Telling yourself to be a certain way or have more of a certain quality (like courage), is a set-up for self-criticism and possibly freezing or avoiding. Instead, access effective action by asking yourself questions like: "If I could be or have that, what actions would be different inside or out?" "If I could be or have that, what needs would be met and knowing those are the needs, what could I do or ask for that would meet those needs?"
Conversation can become more satisfying with depth. Depth is occurs when connection unfolds towards a depth of intimacy, presence, attunement, sensing -- and silent connection where another is attentively seen and heard. Inviting this level of sharing in conversation relies on at least three major elements: attentive silence, the desire to connect and be known, and focus on present moment experience. Learn more about this way of engaging.