The Hurt

I have been requested to talk about individuals that are aware they are a source of pain to others but don’t seem to care about the consequences of their actions. The question I received was specifically about students, however, I believe it applies to everyone.

I would like us to agree on one thing first for the following to make sense. If you don’t agree with the next statement, stop reading, this may be a waste of your time. I would like us to agree that individuals seldom, ever, want to hurt people in purpose. There is no right or wrong, there is no faults, there are only unmet needs. This can be a very difficult idea, especially considering most of us have been brought up in the fear of punishments rather than the motivation to do good to others. For example, we typically avoid speeding not because we want to be safe, rather because we don’t want a speeding ticket.

When someone is confronted with the fact their action resulted in a negative outcome several things can happen: they fear punishment, they feel shame, they feel threatened, and may retrieve. TheΒ  biological response is the desire to protect oneself: we fight, we flee, or we freeze. This can result in an additional negative impact on individuals and our environment. How many times have we done something that resulted in a negative outcome? How many times have we hurt people’s feelings in our lives, and we were unaware we did it? Does that make us cruel individuals? Of course not. We were not aware, or we were distracted, or we didn’t know that the person in front of us had been triggered. Nobody’s perfect. We can only learn from our history and try not to duplicate negative experiences. We’re all doing our best, everyday.

Secondly, how the event was pointed out to us had a lot to do with our follow up response. Shaming and blaming are counter productive, period. I believe that by shaming and blaming someone for their action, we’re creating the hurt we want to avoid in the first place.
My dance partner and I have dedicated a lot of our growth in understanding and applying non-violent communication by Marshall Rosenberg, and studying Brene Brown’s research about shame and compassion. This exploration resulted in the method we apply in our dance classes to create a safe environment for all. By appreciating that there is an unmet need, and by responding to it in a compassionate way, we can discover why a person reacts the way they do. We can have a dialogue, we can create a connection.

One thing I’d like to point out: men in our culture may especially react in a disconnecting fashion when being pointed out counter productive behavior. It’s not because men care less than women, it’s because they’re often raised to showcase strength and force, not vulnerability and kindness. This is an unfortunate cultural issue we’re dealing with. I highly encourage you to watch ” The mask we live in” or follow their Facebook page of the same name to learn more about it.
Let’s be clear on one thing: this is not an easy-as-pie process. A lot of things get in the mix: education, personality, chemical balances, cultural and socioeconomic pressures, history, environment, etc.. That’s why I find it important to keep in mind unmet needs rather than cruelty. How we approach the situation in a compassionate and curious attitude can be a game changer in modeling what we are looking for. We can be the change we want to see by educating ourselves and modeling the behavior we are seeking in others. Keep Learning!

Reach for the greatest version of yourself!
Paola
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Going at it alone?

One of the greatest act of courage in my opinion is not to find the strength to do it all, being independent or self sufficient. One of the greatest act of courage is to ask for help.Being courageous to me is knowing oneself, our strength and limitations, while finding the collaborators to bridge the gap to get to where we want to be.

Nothing in our world is self sufficient, everything is connecting and interacting with many other organisms and modalities. The cycle of life of plants are a perfect undeniable example: they need water and sunshine, and then birds and bees to populate. It’s team work.

How wonderful would it be to let ourselves go to the undeniable fact that we need others to survive, to grow, to complete our destiny, to fully live our story. We need many mirrors in our lives to reflect who we are, who we deny ourselves to be. On many occasions, we deny our heart to beat at its own rhythm, we deny the very fiber of our being to unravel into our authentic self. We tame our wildest dreams for fear to be ridiculed or end up alone.

I could blame our culture for it, I really think it’s just part of the human condition. We are gifted with free will and with so many opportunities, by our very nature, that the torture of becoming is the source of the most joy.

Some of us torture ourselves more than others. Some of us just go dormant and miss the show all together.

I always say: the heart never lies. Your head will tell you stories, your ego will distract you, but your heart will never lie to you. We don’t always want to listen, that’s all.

The word courage comes from the french word “coeur” which means “heart”. I invite you to listen to your heart as much as you can. That is the way, that is the only way to live your authentic story. Many people will come along the way to help you listen to your heart, to help your heart beat stronger and faster. We don’t go at it alone, and the story is not over until the last heartbeat.

Be courageous Darlings, for this is in you, it is your nature, it is yours to be and have.

Reach for the greatest version of yourself.

Paola.

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