This is the April, 2015 “One Moment Shifts,” monthly, e-mailed blog.
2 months ago I responded to a friend’s request to speak about mindful and empowering ways to handle when others “drag us through the mud.” I mentioned 3 steps we can take:
1. step out of the way of the attack (protect ourselves from physical, mental, emotional harm),
2. blend (with the attacking energy), and
3. redirect peacefully and return to balance.
I spoke generally about these in February, focused on step #1 in March. This month’s One Moment Shifts, I will focus on Step #2, Blend.
As in last month’s Shifts, I will remind us that Mindfulness does not promote passiveness or complacency. Mindfulness helps us to stay in line with our true morals and values. For instance, respecting ourselves and others, and compassion. Blending requires that we are in line with those values; we respect ourselves by compassionately removing situations that disrespect us. If you are not fully connecting with those values, take some time to get to know them and fully experience them.
Also, let me first say that this Shift is regarding situations where we are being talked about poorly, talked to in an attacking manner, or in a situation when we feel we are being “attacked.” This is not about physical violence. If you are in a situation where this is physical aggression, the information below will probably not be helpful. It’s time to leave the situation if it’s aggressive.
Blending can be a tricky concept. But to get to the place where we can blend, we have to get to a place where we respond instead of react.
So, we’ve just been attacked (or at least we perceive it that way). It’s super easy to react with defensiveness. It’s great that we want to protect ourself, that shows that we have some compassion for ourself. However, reacting is different from responding. When there is a stressor (such as someone talking poorly about/to us), we can feel the physical stress response in our body, then we want to act (react) on it.
You probably know what this feels like for you. And you probably know the pattern of words and behaviors that follow. I know mine, and it sure hasn’t always been pretty!
The other choice, is to respond. Responding means we think before we act. And to think, instead of going into knee-jerk responses, we need to calm the body and brain. Take a few deep breaths. I personally find it helpful to say to myself, “breathe love (or compassion, or calm) into this situation,” as I breathe. Give it a try, see how it goes!
It can also be helpful to remind ourselves that if someone is saying or doing hurtful things, it is often related to their own wounds. Hurt people hurt people.
“The true mark of maturity is when someone hurts you and you try to understand their situation instead of trying to hurt them back.” – unknown
So, now for blending. Blending is when we join with the attacker. ‘Wait – what? Did I really just say blend with the person who attacked you?!?! Before you delete this Shift, hear me out!
In essence, we don’t get into the power struggle. It’s hard to play tug of war with just one person! Joining does not mean agreeing with, condoning, or placating. In this step, we simply hear the other person out.
This is where mindfulness can really be useful. When we are in the moment with the unfolding of an experience, and nonjudgmentally
, we can really hear
the message. Try not to think of what you want to say next, zone out and think about what you’re having for dinner, or pick apart every piece of “evidence” they have. Your only agenda here is to listen and understand
their point of view, not judge.
Warning: Sometimes when we really hear the other person, there’s a life assignment in there that we are wanting to avoid. Perhaps there’s some truth to what is being said?
If possible, you can validate some part of what they are saying. “I hear that you are really annoyed and find my loud typing to be a distraction.” Again, power struggles don’t work when there’s only one player. When the “attacker” feels heard and understood, defenses often start to calm.
This is a bit easier to do when you can remind yourself that we’re all on the same team. Even if it’s a coworker that you really don’t like, or a family member that you find offensive to your values. Are there common goals you have with this person? If anything, we are all just trying to find our way out of suffering and into happiness.
Blending takes practice. We get better at it each time we try it. Even if it’s after the fact, we can imagine ourself responding and blending. We can imagine ourselves responding from a place of compassion and being on the same team. This starts the process of rewiring the brain, which will make it easier to call on next time.
Next month I’ll focus on step #3, redirect peacefully and return to balance. Until then, good luck practicing!
Have topics or questions you’d like me to address in a Shift or a vlog? E-mail me and let me know!
Peaceful travels on your journey to your happiest self!