You know the people who press your buttons? They stir strong emotions within you. Everyone is your teacher and there are always learning opportunities!
Be curious about your response
Sometimes our closest family members or work colleagues drive us mad. But what if you were to be curious about your own response? Focus on you not them.
Ask yourself what it is you’re actually feeling.
When you focus on your body’s response, you might recognise anger, fear or impatience. Maybe it’s a feeling you often get with this particular person that happens almost unconsciously. Perhaps it’s time to unpack what is going on here!
Sit still and be interested in how you feel.
Could it be that they are mirroring something for you?
Mirrors show us one of 4 things:
- Something of what we are
- The ways we have lost or given away
- What we have yet to develop
- What we judge
As you feel a strong feeling, notice that this is your own knee-jerk reaction. There is a strand of learning for you here.
You are the only one who is responsible for how you’re feeling.
A tiny nugget of learning
You could even thank your button-presser! Be curious next time this happens. There is always a tiny nugget of learning somewhere!
Every person we encounter has come to give us a gift and receive one as well. This applies even with the most casual acquaintance. Ask, ‘What gift am I supposed to give this person?’
Love, patience, acceptance, kindness, letting go … the list is endless. Your children are often your greatest teachers!
I have 3 young adult children – and it’s 100% true – I continually learn from them! And of course, it works both ways too.
Even if you meet someone who is very different from you, it can be an inspiration. They may be modelling some behaviour that you admire and it awakens within you.
You may have been lucky enough to have had a teacher at school or a current mentor. They inspire and encourage you.
Every person you see or meet, in some way is showing you something that perhaps you would like to aspire to, or that you could investigate further.
With this approach, you will find that everyone is your teacher!
The Light and the Dark
Every one of us has illuminated and shadowed parts.
As humans we sometimes focus on the shadowed parts in ourselves and in others. We sometimes overlook the illumination within us all. It’s possible to nurture this capacity to recognise our own shining, incredible self – in us and in others. Meditation is the tool for this.
All of us have both aspects in our lives – the light and the dark. But we’ve all built up a way of being in public which tends to hide our vulnerability.
Social Media often portrays the amazing experiences in a person’s life, yet the challenging difficult experiences are hidden.
It can lead to people thinking that their lives are failing because they don’t live up to these unrealistic expectations.
Wholeheartedness calls on us to put down the armour and bring out the more shadowy parts of ourselves and our history—the parts we’ve always been scared to own, and that we spend a lot of time and energy ignoring—and fold them into ourselves, to create a complex, messy, awesome whole ~ Brene Brown
Brene Brown’s work talks about vulnerability. Our willingness to be vulnerable is essential in really connecting with one-another.
Our immediate reaction is to defend our own viewpoint and switch off from listening to the other person.
Sometimes to see the best in others may take a shift in focus. We can try this with mindful listening. It really does mean that everyone is your teacher. Gregory Kramer calls this ‘Insight Dialogue’.
Tara Brach says:
We react to one another out of habit, instantaneously, lost in our patterns of defending, pretending, judging and distancing …
Some tips for mindful listening
- Be fully present and give your undivided attention to the person you are listening to.
- Notice that you might be analysing or feeling impatient when the other person is talking to you. You might feel you want to jump in with your opinion or advice. This is your inner dialogue spinning around.
- Let go of any judgments you might be feeling. Let go of this inner dialogue.
- Simply relax into the present moment, noticing what they are saying and also how they are speaking, their tone and body language.
- Notice how your body is feeling and how tension may be building while you listen.
- Before you respond – PAUSE! Really consider what you wish to say.
- Keep bringing your awareness back to feeling genuinely interested in the other person.
This can be a very powerful way to really hear another person and learn so much more than if you were holding onto your own assumptions and talking over them.
In this way, everyone is your teacher!
Yvette Jane – Place of Serenity
‘Journey to the Heart of God’ by Almine
‘Rising Strong’ and ‘Daring Greatly’ are two of several excellent books by Brene Brown
‘The Work’ by Byron Katie offers a series of very simple questions which might help you learn more about your thoughts