We are all connected. Yes, it’s true. Our energy, actions and reactions extend into the world and mix and meld together causing a Ripple Effect.
Everything you do in life causes a ripple on someone or something else…the red light you stopped at, the kiss you did or didn’t give someone today, the reusable water bottle you drink from. Have you thought about the ripples are your creating when you are faced with people who have different values and perspectives than you? Hang on to your reusable water bottle, this is probably going to be an uncomfortable conversation, and I’m going to have it anyway!
The Scary Spiral
When you are in a place of anger, frustration and judgement, the Ripple Effect can create a scary spiral of negativity. If I am upset because I am making a judgement on someone, that energy follows me and seeps into everyone and everything around me. It impacts others, like the poor barista at the Starbucks I snapped at. I wasn’t really upset because they were out of Peach Ice Tea. I was upset because someone was expecting something of me that wasn’t resonating with me and I was making a judgement about them (and quite frankly, myself). I was angry, very angry.
With all the polarizing issues going on in our world today, you may often find yourself in a scary spiral. Here’s the thing — being around people who are different from us is not going way. We are never, ever going to overcome this. It’s part of the experience of being human and part of transformational change. We have different values, we have different perspectives, we have different experiences, and we often create judgements because of it. WE ARE HUMAN! So what can we do about it?
Finding Common Ground
How do we stay curious and open to listening in the midst of difficult conversations? How can we let go of the attachments that make us want people to see things and have experiences the way we do?
Living into your values and purpose will give you a solid foundation even when the difficulties of interacting with your fellow humans rears its ugly head. A value is a belief you hold so strongly that you are willing to take action on it even in the face of adversity. When you know your values, the behaviors associated with them and how you want to live into them, you can lean on them. One of my coaching clients calls it their “lighthouse” or their “home base.” It’s a safe haven you can come to when life gets rough.
Another way to find common ground is to unite over our commonalities. We are all angry or frustrated or sad about something. Our attachments and end results may be different, but the feeling is the same. Embracing what we have in common allows us to be empathetic and get closer to people that feel far apart, which is a start! It opens the door to having a curious and open conversation.
Living My Values Without Judging Yours
When something is in conflict with your values, it is difficult to “wrap your brain around it.” You can always tell when something is not resonating with your core beliefs and values, but delving into judgement, criticism and defensiveness about it likely doesn’t align with your values either. For me, one of my core values is love. Pure and simple unconditional love, and I am called to stand behind that value even when somebody is spewing anger and hate. While what they are saying does not align with my perspective or my core beliefs, I can still send them unconditional love because living my life through my core values is incredibly important to me. Now believe me this is not easy and it’s not always comfortable. However, coming back to home base, gives me an opportunity to peel back the curtain and understand what is really going on. What am I really attached to? What is the growth opportunity here?
Recently, I used my credit card points to order an Amazon gift card. When it didn’t arrive in the mail, I called the company and the customer service agent told me that their “company policy” states that they are not responsible for lost or stolen cards. I was mad and I had a moment when I needed to check in with myself. Was I going to be angry with this person and get into an argument because of a company policy or was I going to take a moment, go to my home base and respond from a place of love, acceptance and encouragement? I responded by asking the customer service rep to close her eyes with me and together we sent out some positive energy so that the gift card could either find its way to me or find its way to someone that really needed it.
We were both frustrated. She was frustrated because of a company policy she needed to enforce. I was frustrated because of a company policy I didn’t like or think was fair. Frustration was the commonality and we both took that frustration and directed our energy elsewhere. She actually thanked me before we got off the phone. And I went on to have a fabulous day while vowing to never order another gift card with my credit card points!
Focusing on outcomes and difference breeds hate and violence. When we focus on the outcomes we think we want, we miss the commonalities, opportunities and possibilities that bring us closer together. Instead, focus on your home base and the commonalities you have with everyone and everything around you. As the Dalai Lama once said, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
Do you want to discover and explore your values and what it looks like when you are living into them (or not)? I offer an exclusive coaching package that is focused on your values and your purpose. Find out more by scheduling your free discovery call.