We tend to get caught up in the events that transpired, we point fingers, get angry, get frustrated, or maybe we just give up. When something happens that pushes a button within us we tend to ride the waves of the emotional reaction that comes, we get tangled up in the web of the overwhelming experiences in this moment here and now.
Let me give you an example:
You make plans with someone, who has agreed to those plans and has agreed that their responsibility within those plans is important and that their actions will have an effect on other people's lives. While you are going along, doing whatever needs doing, you look up and realise that this person has not honoured their commitment and has placed you in a position of having to try and deal with their (lack of) action. Now there are a number of ways you might respond in a situation like this - most people will react most of the time - for example:
- You get angry and tell the person what a terrible human being they are with the intention of making them feel bad for what they did.
- You go and talk to one or more people about this person and their actions while you are angry (and create judgements and other ripple effects within these other people)
- You decide to ignore this person as a way to spite them, thinking that "they can deal with the consequences their actions created - it's not my problem."
- You stay quiet, but the anger and resentment builds over time until you reach the point of EXPLOSION
The tricky part comes next: OK, so you see that there is something within this person that they are manifesting - now how the hell do you help them? You will probably look at all the reasons why NOT to do anything to support the person: they'll take it the wrong way; I won't be able to explain myself then I'll look like an idiot; they are really good at debating and will find a way to invalidate what I am trying to show them; they simply will not see what I am trying to show them. These are all possible reactions you will face - the mind will always resist change. BUT it doesn't mean that you should stop there and go no further. You may not be able to help every person every time, but you will certainly learn valuable tools and approaches from testing what works with what kinds of designs. The very first step is ALWAYS to make sure that you are clear - that you are not holding any emotional reactions within you. You cannot support another while you are reacting - chances are that you'll simply exacerbate their reaction/experience. Another important tool is to practice looking past the scenario at hand and into what actually caused the scenario to unfold. Was the communication ineffective? Did one or some or all parties involved not consider each other and/or the relevant factors fully? Was the point not planned effectively?
Be willing to listen. Hear what people are saying. Look what exists behind their words - what is the real message they're conveying? Make sure you're on the same page. Make sure you create a safe space to share and investigate as a platform of support.