Lately, I’ve been contemplating the difference between individual consciousness and relational consciousness and the difference between personal empowerment and relational empowerment.
I am all in for helping humans become more conscious, more empowered, and more compassionate.
Sometimes, however, we stall out in our own personal development. We can get stuck in our own subjectivity, feelings, perceptions, and needs.
Instead of expanding our capacity and continuing our growth, we sometimes settle into the false comforts of confirmation bias, echo chambers, and carefully curated worlds intended to buffer us from discomfort.
Then, life brings us face to face with “those people.” You know the ones I mean:
They react in ways we don’t like.
They believe things we don’t believe.
They speak in ways we don’t enjoy.
They support things we simply can’t stand.
At times like these, we are invited to up-level our personal empowerment into relational empowerment.
What will it take for us to soften our hearts even to “those people?”
On one of our recent member calls, we talked about the deep value of making peace with discomfort; the value of being willing to lean into hurt, anger, triggers, and reactivity; and the value of “those people” we love to judge, those things we often wish to avoid.
Diamonds result from carbonate rocks being under intense pressure for long periods of time. Did you know most naturally occurring diamonds are over a billion years old?
Pressure and heat over time gives rise to strength and clarity.
Oysters create pearls when they are irritated and uncomfortable. When something that doesn’t belong there, rubs it the wrong way, and it starts to look for ways to alleviate its suffering.
Irritation gives rises to beauty.
Instead of seeing pressure, heat, or irritation as evidence that something is “wrong” or needs to be “fixed,” what would it be like for you to greet everything with the assumption that it is here to help you become stronger, more resilient, more aware, more awake, and more compassionate?
What if everything that happens to you really is for your growth, healing, and expansion?
What if, instead of falling into victim consciousness and longing for things to be more comfortable or easier, you looked for the ways in which these perceived hardships are here to lift you up, teach you about your resilience, your creativity and your inherent strength and fortitude?
What if the next time someone showed up with intense emotions and judgments, you were able to stay grounded, present and curious?
What if you rose to the challenge, trusted your ability to handle it.
Remember the feeling of satisfaction you get after you’ve taken a long run, pushed yourself in yoga class, or completed that paper after umpteen rewrites.
A few days ago, my daughter reminded me of something I often told her when she was younger. She said she often remembered it when she felt tired or upset and that it had made a big difference in her life.
“You used to tell me that life never gives you more challenges than you can handle, even when it doesn’t feel good it doesn’t mean that something is wrong.”
So, from my house to yours, remember that everything you encounter can be used to increase your empathy, your love, your compassion, and your strength. Reach for more than just the personal. Let’s reach for those things that are truly relational.
Sometimes, it just takes a subtle shift in perspective, a willingness to be uncomfortable for just a bit longer, and a desire to find the good in all events and even more importantly, in all people.
WANT TO GO DEEPER IN THIS WORK?
Here are a few of my programs that might be of interest to you: