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Curiosity for Poor Decisions

Your partner can't meet you for a hike because for the fifth time this month he has gone off his diet and eaten something to which he is allergic.  He calls you moaning and you know he would like some empathy and comfort.

You don't feel much space for empathy, but rather a sense of frustration around your needs for responsibility, dependability, companionship, and fun.  "Why does he keep making these poor decisions?!!", you scream as you get off the phone.

Asking why when you are feeling reactive usually leads to a cascade of judgment and analysis.  Later, when you have given yourself some empathy and taken care of your needs that would have been met on the hike, you can bring forth true curiosity.

Sitting down with your partner at a later time, you can let him know about your own frustration and your longing to have fun and companionship.  You can gently invite a dialogue about what goes on for him when he makes that decision that leads to suffering. 

The purpose here is not to counsel or advise him, but rather to provide a safe space to reflect and raise awareness.  A safe space means that any judging and shame jackals have been met and dissolved through empathy. 

By reflecting on what actually happened in body, mind, heart, and environment before or at the time a decision was made, wisdom and clarity naturally arise. Ideally such a reflective dialogue would contain insight, highlight feelings and needs, and end with clear and do-able requests.

Providing this non-judgmental, non-advising, reflective space is one of the most important keys to supporting each other in living from wisdom and heart.

Take a moment to notice if there is someone in your life with whom you would like to bring this accepting curiosity (while staying connected to your own feelings and needs).

P.S.  You can read more on this theme in my articles entitled "Your Stuck Friend (Part 1 & 2)" http://wiseheartpdx.org/blog/

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2 Responses

  1. Jul 21, 2011
    Jan Hoyer

    A safe space means that any judging and shame jackals have been met and dissolved through empathy. - Boy, is this challenging at times! Hope to get some support with this in your Fall women's self-empathy group. I'm signed up!

  2. Jul 25, 2011

    That's true Jan, I say as though it were simple but I know it's not. Yes, we will get some practice with this in class.

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