Whenever we have a difficult time with someone else, we naturally start defending ourselves.
We think the other person is attacking us, and we must defend our position or our opinion.
The argument with our coworker or our sibling turns into an offensive on our very being.
So what do we do?
We close out hearts and we go into our heads.
We start analyzing and rationalizing why we are right and they are wrong.
We create all kinds of stories around the incident that make us feel better about ourselves and feel not so good about the other person.
And where does that lead us?
To more hard feelings and a breakdown in communication.
All because we think it is all about us.
There is another way.
If when we are in the middle of the disagreement we keep our hearts open and realize that it is not about us but about the other person, then we can be more compassionate.
We can ask them what’s wrong and listen.
We can hear and feel what’s going on with them instead of putting up a wall.
We can be present with them and see where it takes us.
And we may just find out that is not about us at all.
It’s about the hard time they are dealing with at home, at the office, or in some other aspect of their life.
Suddenly we have evidence that it really wasn’t about us, or the subject of the discussion, it is about them and the difficulties they are going through.
Yet we would never get to that point if we did not give ourselves the benefit of the doubt and assume there is something else going on.
When we stop defending ourselves and assuming that the other person is against us we can transform the situation.
Being present and feeling the pain the other person is in not only helps us to feel better about ourselves, it helps diffuse the tension and energy of the situation and brings healing to everyone involved.
Isn’t that worth the effort to keep our hearts open?
~ Sam Liebowitz, The Conscious Consultant