|Ladies, calm down. No, |
this isn't a picture of me.
"As we grow in our rela-tional skills, we see difficulties as opportun-ities. They allow us to do spiritual weight lifting. We exercise the inner strength gotten by applying healthy principles when relating with others. We do this even with those who are dangerous and hurtful. What a deal!"Just a second, before going further.
This week I disagreed in a blog. The individual took it personally. Untasteful descriptions of my character were tossed at me. This per-son's friends chimed in, adding more invectives.
My, my. I don't take anything personally. So, this was cyber bullying. The response was seen for what it was. A lack of maturity.
Progress doesn't occur when attacks are used. This illus-trated an ad homi-nem argument. Like the one to your left.
Most people, when confronted aggressively, back-pedal. They become off guard. It's more effective staying present---on topic. A person abuses us. That's not the time to reason things out. Waiting for a moment when they are not emotionally intoxicated makes more sense.
In light of the principles listed below, I kept my perspective, when attacked. I did not drink the venom offered. It's hard for an angry person to engage me in an emotional tug-of-war, if I let go of the rope. I did.
Their response lets me understand their values and worldview. I was not in agreement with them.
Sure, it can be disappointing, judged by others. It often happens in a disagreement. Frequently, the person is labelled as wrong, stupid, an idiot or a twit. That's what happened this week.
But I do not allow others to define who I am or determine my moods,
I stood in my power. I maintained integrity with my values. It's sad when people see different viewpoints as rubbish, tossing in profanities in the mix. Unfortunately, this reaction frequently surfaces when there are differences.
I was not sad in that I took it personally. It was tragic seeing personal attacks used to win an argument instead of discussing the issues.
This week I was grateful for applying healthy principles. They allow me to discern who are Safe and Unsafe People. The following list comes from the book, Safe People by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, of the Boundaries series book fame. It's subtitle is: How to Have Healthy Relationships and Avoid Those That Aren't. Their book, Boundaries, written in 1995 has sold over 3 million copies. They've written numerous fine books."When we realize that we can have differing viewpoints without either of us being wrong, we can all fit in together." Courage to Change, p. 140
To see practical, brief, clinical video presentations on the subjects of Relationships, Goals and Success, Emotional Struggles, Leadership, Dating, Spiritual Life, Parenting and Marriage, by these psychologists, click here. You'll be glad you did.
In the authors' words,
Below, we'll get a better picture of what these two psychologists mean."Unsafe people have personal traits that make them extremely dangerous to other people."
Some Helpful Principles to Keep in Mind
Here are a few:
1. Unsafe people are defensive instead of open to feedback.
2. Unsafe people think they "have it all together " instead of admitting their weaknesses.
3. Unsafe people are religious instead of spiritual.
4. Unsafe people only apologize instead of changing their behavior.
For each of the points stated above, they go into detail, in their book. I'm skimming the general principles. The authors discuss many other points as well, in depth.
The following points are from page 34 in Safe People:
5. Unsafe people avoid working on their problems instead of dealing with them.
Unsafe people in this regard:
a. Do not admit that they have problems, or they think they can solve the problems, by themselves.
b. Do not submit their life and will to God. In fact, call others "holier than thou," when others suggest living by God's standards.
c. Do not confess when they've wronged someone.
d. Do not forgive people who've hurt them. They care more about the issue than they do about the relationship. (Safe People care more about the relationship than they do about the issue.)
e. Avoid facing relationship problems directly. (I've ended relationships because of this factor---if a person I'm relating with is unwilling to discuss the issue, there's little hope for the relationship.)
f. Do not hunger and thirst for righteousness. In fact, they often mock those who do and minimize their own need for doing so.
g. Treat others with a lack of empathy.
h. Are not open to confrontation from others.
i. Are not in the process of learning and growing.
j. Blame other people for their problems, not seeing their part. [I often, when dealing with an issue between myself and another ask: "Can you tell me your contribution, so that I won't feel like I'm the only person to blame?]
k. Do not want to share their problems with others, that they may grow.
After going into detail about this list, the psychologists Cloud and Townsend state:
Having my perspective informed by these principles allows me to have an Attitude of Gratitude. There's greater clarity, mindfulness with relating. I have a guide that lets me know who to connect with. I am more aware of those I want to avoid."People who are uninvolved in character growth can be unsafe, because they are shut off from awareness of their own problems and God's resources to transform those problems. Instead, they act out of their unconscious hurts, and hurting others."
Instead of reacting, I respond. When I do, I remain kind and courteous towards those with whom I differ. I detach, while still being loving. I don't treat them as sub-human with scorn. I'm not interested in hacking away at them with the hatchet of cruel words.
Detaching prevents me from responding with a gut reaction. This regrettable emotional reaction is easy to do, if we aren't careful. For most of us, it's a default response.
The good news is that my relating healthily, when challenged can improve. It occurs when I apply healthy principles above my personality----those sore areas where I'm vulnerable to being passive, timid, aggressive, abusive or frozen in the headlights----when faced with the vicissitudes of life.
How About You?
1. What have you found helpful, when dealing with conflict?
2. How do you respond towards others who are being unkind?
3. What are signs that let you know that a person is not safe to relate with?
I look forward to your comments. Here's to growing communication within this inn of hope, encouragement and recovery,
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