Updated: Oct 16, 2019
Understanding an Angry Response
Sometimes situations can prompt an angry response to our efforts of consolation: “You couldn’t possibly understand what I am going through!” What do we do with that? There are a number of responses. We may feel rejected and retaliate by saying something worse, with a bit of attitude, “I was just trying to help,” or we might get defensive and try to explain “why” we are right in stating our claim to understand. Sometimes we may just walk away in silence, either because we feel offended, or because we just don’t know what else to say. None of these responses help and none of them work.
Help Me to Understand
If we truly want to understand a person’s particular situation we need to take an entirely different tactic from the beginning, or use this same tactic if we’ve already fallen into the trap of saying, “I understand.” Maybe a better first response, or recovery play, is to say, “Help me understand what you are going through.” That is standing under, that is relinquishing control to the other. Although we may be able to relate to the struggles of another, it is not until we allow ourselves to stand under the other that we are able to become one with the other.
Be The Receiver
Often, our immediate instinct is to try to be the rescuer, when in reality, what the person really needs is a receiver, someone to receive the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of the other. Standing under appears to be a position of powerlessness, but it’s a more grounded position from which we can truly understand and better help the other.
If you find yourself frustrated with your child/student, simple ask them, "Help me to understand . . ."
Peace will follow . . . guaranteed!
Next week we will discuss the lesson from The Good Eggs, Chapter 1: Understanding, and look deeper at how you can model the virtue at home/school.
Have a fantastic week!
Thanks for being a Good Egg!
S. Ciara Mitaro