This one small step
when undertaken consciously
can transform your inner landscape from
the dark and narrow back-streets of anger, criticism, fear and judgment
into a bright and spacious landscape of compassionate curiosity.
What’s to loose, right?
So, please hear me through and give it a go before you decide either that ~
- I’m a fruit loop (which just may be true!) or
- That this is not for you (which I hope is not true).
Here’s the idea.
Every time you hear your own inner voice of anger, criticism, fear and judgment go off on you with variations of you’re ~
- no good
- a failure
- forever doomed to be alone
- fundamentally a looser
Do this ~
Visualize the voice as coming from a small, frightened Part of you cowering in that dark alley. Turn toward this cowering Part, thank it, and let it know you’d like to understand it more fully.
Say, “Well hello! I hear that you’re angry, or worried that I’m no good or stupid or a failure. I know you are telling me this for a reason and I’d like to hear what you have to tell me.”
Even if this Part says this to you often, my guess is you usually do not give it the time of day.
My guess is you turn away from it.
My guess is that you meet your ~
- angry Parts with anger
- critical Parts with criticism
- judgmental Parts with judgment
- fearful Parts with fear.
Whatever the initial feeling your Part expresses, instead of listening to it, my guess is you compound it with more of the same.
As Thich Nhat Hanh said:
If we become angry at our anger, we will have two angers at the same time.
So, what to do?
Turn toward this frightened young Part, take it by the hand and lead it out of that narrow, confining, oppressive alley and into a sun-lit meadow. Sit down next to it and invite it to tell you what it needs you to hear. You are there to listen. You are there to listen to understand the concerns, not listen to agree.
Once you turn toward your anger, criticism, judgment or fear and invite it to tell you more, you are no longer that Part. You are your Self listening to that Part. YOU have separated from IT.
You have opened up some space between YOU and this PART. Which invites “YOU” into the picture. The “YOU” who is way more than just a small young frightened Part .
This “YOU”, with the spaciousness of the bright meadow, sees so much more of who you are and how you might be actually dealing with whatever the issue was that triggered this young frightened outburst.
Maybe you also see Parts of you are are:
- often right
- a good friend
- fundamentally OK
These Parts are also YOU.
Here is Thich Nhat Hanh again:
We only have to observe it with love and attention. If we take care
of our anger this way, without trying to run away from it, it will transform itself.
OK that’s it!
Is there more one can do to cultivate Self-Compassion?
Yes – and if you’re interested, I highly recommend you allow Dr. Kristin Neff to be your guide.
But this one small step is key.
This one small step allows you to see the limits of the dark alley-way script which – when confined to the alley – felt like it was the only narrative. This one small step allows you to access so much more of who you are. This one small step allows you to bring compassion, gratitude and perspective to this Part.
And, if you’re interested in hearing more about working with these Parts of you – one place to begin is an earlier blog post, Part of Me Wants
I’m exploring what it looks like to get your needs met in healthy ways.
FIRST TIME HERE?
This is the latest article in a year-long series on the “12-most-important-relationship-skills-no-one-ever-taught-me-in-school-but-I-sure-wish-they-had.”
If you’re interested in reading this blog in sequence, below are links to the series to date, beginning with the first posting at the top.
SKILLS FOR UNDERSTANDING
SKILL ONE ~ Recognize (and get to know) the many “yous.”
SKILL TWO ~ Learn how to be pro-active: choose how y’all show up.
- Report The News – Don’t Act it Out
- Happy Families
- Self Leadership
- When Does A Relationship Need Help?
SKILL THREE ~ Accept (and get curious about) other peoples’ complexity
- 5 Non verbal Cues You Need To Know
- How To Change Someone Else
- 2 Magic Ratios for Great relationships
- Is Understanding Overrated?
SKILLS FOR CONNECTING
SKILL FOUR ~ Master the Art of Conversation
- Five Conversations
- How To Never Be Boring
- The 5 Principles For Great Conversation
- The 7 Deadliest Fights & How To Fight Fair
SKILL FIVE ~ Learn How To Listen With Your Whole Self
- 5 Ways To Be A Better Listener
- Listening To Yourself
- Who’s Listening
- Beyond Emotion Coaching – Listening For Your Child’s Needs
SKILL SIX ~ Crack The Empathy Nut
- Thriving Through Tough Times
- Teaching Empathy to Adults
- Teaching Empathy to Children
- Living Empathically
SKILL SEVEN ~ Practice Kindness
- Kindness Is Key
- Cultivating Kindness
- Can We Ever Be Too Kind?
- Independence, Co-dependence and Interdependence
- One Small Step Toward Self-Compassion