Here's a list of words that pose as feelings, but are actually interpretations of what you think someone is doing to you. They trigger defensiveness in another thereby preventing a connected dialogue. Behind each of these words are precious feelings and needs. This sheet includes ways to distinguish feelings from interpretations.
When someone responds with painful sarcasm, criticism, or dismissal you can respond with empathy, or with clarity about your intention, need and request. If you're unable to do this, later you can privately write what they said, identify the feelings and needs of both of you, then write possible responses. This can help you remember to stay with your intention and what’s true for you without getting caught in defensiveness or reactivity.
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.
When someone wants to speak angrily about another, do you want to move away, try to calm them, argue, set a boundary, or offer empathy? What supports you to stay self connected? You can set boundaries regarding listening so that you're less likely to defend the other party, or attempt to talk your friend down from their judgments, thereby escalating the situation. Disagreements can also ignite curiosity and celebration. Read on for more.
A big part of why receiving feedback is so challenging is because so few people around us know how to give feedback untainted with criticism, judgment, or our personal upset. But, if we wait for others to offer us usable, digestible, manageable feedback, we will not likely receive sufficient feedback for our growth and learning. Instead, we can grow in our capacity to fish the pearl that’s buried within. Here are three specific suggestions for how.
When we don't like what someone is saying to us, sometimes people encourage us to hear their needs, and "not take it personally" -- and we're inclined to agree. Could "not taking it personally" close our hearts and awareness to others, life and ourselves? Rachelle Lamb invites us to take a closer look at what it's like when we attend to the situation from our hearts, and skillfully reflect upon our actions with tenderness.
Society gives us short-sighted explanations about human nature, life and what’s (un)changeable. The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting that explanation. Our current social order upholds impoverishment, police brutality, and is leading us towards our extinction. Change begins with people mobilizing resources towards a vision that holds systemic care for all, plus engages shared risk and collective action towards that vision.
When someone expresses upset about our actions, and we focus on our intention being seen and understood (e.g. "I didn’t mean to hurt you”) it doesn't support the speaker in being heard more deeply with care. Here we'll explore this dynamic in a way that supports more clarity and the possibility of greater personal liberation. Read on for more.
Why is it so difficult to not take things personally? It's because everything reinforces the sense that whatever is being said is indeed about us – both from without and from within. However, we can get better at not taking things personally with a practice of shifting our focus by being open to multiple interpretations, understanding that our reaction is about our own need, and noticing how the other person’s words, no matter how they sound to us, are an expression of their needs. We can then be more present and available to navigate the situation.