Living Kindness: Courtesy of the Heart
When I first met my partner, Kim, she was traveling around the state of Indiana and the country teaching people about the behavior communication link. She has taught me that behavior is communication, and communication is behavior. Simply stated, we use a range of behaviors, like gestures and tone of voice, to communicate, and, therefore, communication is also what we do and how we act in certain situations. One of the most important things I took out of all of this is that a person is not his or her behaviors. So, as a teacher, if you have a child who is acting out in a classroom, it makes sense to feel frustrated by this students’ actions that are disrupting your classroom. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you dislike this young person, because we are not our behaviors. This was a huge lesson for me.
I am continually reminded of this small, yet huge and potent, truth that we are not our behaviors. When I look at this now, it reminds me of our two selves: (1) the essential self and (2) the social self (Beck, 2001). Our essential self is the part of us that stores our dreams and passions and is what turns us on and off. Our social self is the part of us that evolves over time. It is very hard working, disciplined, imitative, and conforming. Basically, it’s the part of us that keeps us out of jail! I believe that we are at our best as human beings when our two selves align. Hence, we listen to our essential self and utilize our social self to make our dreams become a reality.
So, why do I say that the statement we are not our behaviors reminds me of our two selves? Well, our essential self is fully loving, fully accepting. It doesn’t have the capacity to judge, criticize, and belittle other people let alone hurt other people. In a past e-newsletter, Lessons From Orlando, I spoke of the term namaste. Namaste means “the light in me sees or honors the light in you.” The phrase has tremendous faith. It is basically saying that there is good in every one of us. There is light in each person who walks the planet. We may not be able to see a person’s light or his or her essential self at times. However, we trust that it’s there. Therefore, I believe that when we judge, criticize, condemn, and attack our fellow humans we are acting solely from our social selves. I want to be clear. I am not saying that we must agree with everyone around us or the positions that are coming from those in power. Disagreement is natural and is going to happen. However, acting disrespectfully and calling people names, which I am just as guilty as the next person, do not represent our highest self.
It’s as if we think being kind or empathic is a menu item that we can select. This duality thinking is absolutely coming from our social self and is clearly not coming from an aligned self. If we choose to be kind to one person at work, but not kind to another, we are unconsciously separating the world into two categories of us and them (those who deserve kindness and those who do not). It’s this separation that I see in conversations with family members and people we see on a daily basis, on Facebook and other forms of social media, and even in some regular media. This separation concerns me about the state of the world. We will never move forward if we are continually seeing and acting as if there is an us versus them. First of all, I do not believe that there is a huge battle of us versus them. I believe that we are all connected and all part of the same consciousness. I also believe that when we view the world through a lens that separates people into categories of those deserving our respect and those who don’t, what is really happening is that we are not connected to who we truly are. We are not connected to our essential selves. We have become disconnected from who we truly are. When I began to realize this, I understood that the only way for me to move forward was to connect with my essential self continually, so as not to disconnect for long periods of time. Additionally, I have discovered that it is of paramount importance to find common ground with everyone I encounter, and even those I don’t encounter, and choose to have faith that there is light within us all. And if they continue to disrespect others and call people names, all I can do is be true to my essential self, and I urge you to do the same. Reach for the stars! Begin to see people as people. Whether people are politicians, people who do not share your ideology, a person who has bullied and hurt others, please remember that these are people first. You may disagree or dislike their behavior and that is fine. However, let us model the words of Michelle Obama, “When others (they) go low, we go high.” Let us find the common humanity within us all and do our best to connect with another persons’ essential self in an effort to build a bridge from heart to heart.
As we begin a new year, ask yourself these four lovely questions that Brené Brown asks herself. I find them to be a great place to start to reconnect with our true selves.
- What do I want more of in my life?
- How do I let go of what’s no longer serving me?
- What will make me feel more alive? More brave?
- At the end of every day and at the end of every year, I need to know that I contributed more than I criticized. How have I contributed and what will that look like moving forward?
I wanted to share a conference by Marianne Williamson that will be happening in early February. For those of you who are interested in moving forward to create a better world for all of us, you may find Sister Giant a healthy next step. Sister Giant is a place where many people come together to have healthy conversations about where we find ourselves today.
In Williamson’s words from the website:
The times in which we live call for a critical re-evaluation of our relationship to life around us—to our fellow citizens, to our country and to our world. Yet in order to transform our current challenges, we must address them from a holistic perspective—recognizing not only the external but also the internal dimensions of both our problems and their solutions.
The great thing about this conference is that you can go in person or join from home via a live stream. Visit the website, sistergiant.com, to look into it further.
Additionally, we are having a second informational phone call for The Hero’s Journey Retreat at 7 p.m. EST on Monday, January 23. So, if you were unable to join us for the call on January 10 or haven’t listened to the recording on the website, please join us. So excited about this retreat and want you all to come play.
As you all know, I often find inspiration from quotes and videos. This video was sent to me today by a friend who received it from a client. I believe this video captures my message in this e-newsletter! I encourage you to watch!
Until next time,
Safe Space Life Coaching