So we’ve been practicing getting in touch with our need and our feeling, and the other person’s, and by alternating in this way, something interesting happens: we don’t get stuck in one perspective or the other, and we start to see the gap between the two. Perhaps then we realize “Ok, if I want to practice direct communication, being congruent, saying what I really feel, I have to first feel like the other person really wants to hear it, or if I really want to say it to them.” That is okay! But you get that intelligence out of the situation by even trying to say it. You can imagine yourself saying the thing you need to say. You might feel “No.” or “Yes.” or “Ooh. I’m afraid to do that, but if I can find a way to do it, it would probably be good.
How is caring for ourselves or knowing what we need the same or different than when we care for others? How does that work? When is caring for someone else exactly the same thing I want, and when is caring for myself a little different from caring for them? Where is that loneliness or that gap or that distance, and how do we see that?
Let’s look at a situation, a challenge we’re having with someone, or a tension. Maybe we’re concerned about someone and we don’t know what to say to them or if we should say anything. So touching in with something we’re feeling. We might want our friend or whomever we’re worried about to know we’re there for them. When we think of them, they are kind of cantankerous and probably don’t want to talk about it, and they didn’t ask for advice, so what do we do? Just ignore what they’re going through? Say something?
So in my own process, when I run into this, it’s not like there is a fixed answer. But when I look at a situation like that, there is a part of me that feels like I’m being dishonest when I’m with my friend and I don’t say “Hey, I’m a little worried about you.” I don’t have to make a big deal about it, or make them feel bad, on the other hand, am I doing that for them? I think so in this case, the example I’m thinking about. It definitely comes from my heart but if I’m afraid for myself when I say it to them, it would feel a lot different for them.
If I try to control the other person then I’m not caring for myself. If I try to control the other person so that I feel better, but I don’t really care, that isn’t really caring for myself. It’s like a riddle!
If I can say what I need to say to the degree that I need to, about the issue that is impacting me, for example, I might say “I’ve noticed that X Y Z, and it makes me a little concerned. I’m okay, but I am worried about you. If you don’t want to talk about it, no big deal, that is your choice, but I didn’t want to hang out with you and not say anything when it actually is making me a little concerned for you.”
Do you matter? Is it okay for you to have needs? You’re a person too! It has got to be two-way!
What comes up as you explore caring about your own needs and caring about others’ needs, and balancing all of that?
This is part of an ongoing series. Stay tuned for Part 8!
Maitri For Our Time Part 1
Maitri For Our Time Part 2
Maitri For Our Time Part 3
Maitri For Our Time Part 4
Maitri For Our Time Part 5
Maitri For Our Time Part 6
Maitri For Our Time Part 7
Maitri For Our Time Part 8