Last week, we explored why trying to suppress the outcries of pain we are seeing in our world right now is the BEST way to never create the change we wish to see as people who want a world of harmony.
This week we are going to focus on what WILL create that world. Ready?
Let's Learn To Validate, Shall We?
For ANYONE who wants to see a better world where humans FEEL good and thus can live in higher, more evolved ways, we must understand a little bit about human psychology and how we process, and what it’s going to take in real reality to get us to this love and light filled world we are all wanting.
Never, ever, ever in the whole history of all humanity has attempting to invalidate someone in their lived and felt experience EVER resulted in that person ‘seeing things in a higher way’ or NOT being angry/sad/hurt anymore.
Rather, this invalidation - being told that what they saw, experienced, went through, felt and how they interpreted the events of their lives was WRONG, not real, a lower way of looking at things, or being told that how they FEEL is ‘divisive’ ‘negative,’ not the highest vantage point, making themselves a victim or the WORST - making YOU the LISTENER uncomfortable/upset - is a sure fire way to either SHAME that person into feeling disempowered and unable to make their lives better, or a perfect way to help them stay stuck in their trauma. (Yes, adults have the responsibility to empower themselves and their stuff anyway - but this just makes it harder, and I don’t see the value in that when it’s already hard enough.)
Even IF what they are saying/how they interpreted things/how they saw things isn’t the fullest version of reality - THEY STILL FEEL THAT IT IS.
In their perception it IS reality and THIS IS WHAT THEY HAVE TO PROCESS in order to move forward.
In order to move forward, they need to process THEIR LIVED EXPERIENCE - not the one we think they should see/align with. They feel how they feel and there is not going to be ANY intellectual argument that makes them see things or feel things differently.
Generally we must recognize that when we are trying to tell someone that their perception is wrong - we are not doing this for them, we are doing this FOR OURSELVES. We don't want to hear what they have to say because it shatters our world view, our self image, our foundations in some way. THIS is why we gas-light even when we don't mean to.
And it must stop.
RATHER! When we are allowed to FULLY OWN our experience, to be heard and VALIDATED in how we saw it and how we feel about it, when we are held in a LOVING SPACE to process our ANGER, our SADNESS, our HOPELESSNESS, our despair - and rather than the listener REJECTING US or in any way trying to CHANGE US - we will NATURALLY arrive at a place where we want to empower ourselves. Where we feel safe enough to go beyond anger into action, intelligent action, that will help us ALL find a better world.
Anger ALWAYS Has A Reason:
When people are angry, they have a reason. When people are sad, they have a reason. When people are telling us that they are in pain THEY HAVE A REASON.
- Just because what they are saying didn’t happen to us, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen to them.
- Just because their experience is something we have no context for, doesn’t make it untrue.
- Just because we didn’t see it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
- Just because we think we would interpret things differently had we been through what they have been through doesn’t mean THEY SHOULD interpret things differently than they are.
- Just because there are other things happening, doesn’t mean what they have experienced isn’t real/was fabricated.
- Just because we don’t get it, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.
- Just because it makes US UPSET or triggers us, doesn’t mean it’s not true.
- Just because we don’t WANT what they are saying to be true, doesn’t make it not true.
- Just because we unknowingly participated in the offending situation, doesn’t mean we didn’t hurt or that the wound doesn’t exist.
- Just because their emotional expression makes us uncomfortable, doesn’t make it wrong, immature, divisive, negative or inappropriate - in fact a lot of the time hurting people are reacting EXACTLY IN ACCORDANCE with the horrible nature of what they went through - and we are attempting to minimize their expression FOR OURSELVES - not for them.
WE have to understand that just because we think the anger, sadness, hopelessness or whatever it is they are expressing is ‘bad for them’ or is the ‘wrong way to see things’ that this is really for OURSELVES - not them.
If we really want to benefit THEM - validate. Hold space. Listen. Acknowledge. Look at the resistance you have, the desire you have to change them or their expression and realize that is YOU and YOUR TRIGGER.
This is ok. We all get triggered. But when we want to invalidate someones experience - ‘that didn’t happen, don’t feel that way, don’t express that way’ - we are doing that FOR OURSELVES not them.
Angry people, when given a SAFE SPACE to express that anger, to be fully heard and validated, usually don’t become violent. They process in a safe place and become empowered to make this world a better place, and those who listened become better equipped to do the same. That anger will be a tool for change - and that will be a good thing on the other side of processing. At the same time, they may APPEAR TO US to be angry as their processed anger EMPOWERS THEM to DISMANTLE SYSTEMS - and that again is something WE need to process in OURSELVES.
Are we really seeing their anger as 'lower than?' or are we in fact afraid of what their empowered anger will do to a system that we benefit from in our perception? Are we calling for them to calm down because we actually don't want the destruction for THEM or for OURSELVES?
Sad people when validated and loved find their own hope and strength, and those who listen become more compassionate and aware.
Those who are hopeless and are held again will find that love that they have been looking for and will learn that they are SAFE to feel how they feel - and in this will find their voice and strength.
When we stand AGAINST a person in pain, a person expressing in pain, we stand FOR whatever is hurting them.
When we get uncomfortable with the expression of pain and try to change THAT - we OBFUSCATE the SOURCE of the pain, and thus make the healing harder.
When we tell someone to change their perception, we are short circuiting the process. A person in pain MUST BE ABLE TO EXPRESS JUST AS THEY ARE - and in that safe space, will find their voice, their empowerment, the ROOT of their pain - and in THAT change can be made.
We may discover that when we listen to someones pain, their anger is going to drive them to WORK TO CHANGE THINGS. This is not violence. THIS IS EVOLUTION.
When we have pain, and that pain DOESN'T lead to systemic change, then we are stuck. The pain will stay SO LONG AS THAT WHICH IS CAUSING IT IS STILL THERE. Thus, if we want a world of love and light, we are ONLY going to get there via listening to, validating and then correcting the misalignments we discover through that embrace of pain.
This means changing systems.
When you suppress or deny those crying out in pain, you stand with that which is destroying them, and all of us.
Nothing heals in the shadow.
What is felt must be brought into the light, felt and processed, witnessed and held. Then change must take place. This isn't violence. This is growth.
Remember - hurt people hurt people.
Those who were deeply traumatized or abused often become abusers themselves. They learn this is the only way to defend themselves against the violence that they experienced. Every person who we look at as a victimizer will tell you that in their own self perception, they are the victim. They are simply doing what they have to do to defend and protect themselves. They learned somewhere along the way that peace isn't possible. That there is only being dominant or being dominated.
Those who abuse were inevitably abused. Those who traumatize are traumatized.
WE are all passing our pain around.
Thus, it is often confusing to wade through the 'who's the good guy/bad guy here?' Because in reality no one is good or bad. We are all just humans fumbling our way through our traumas together.
So as we learn to hold space for and listen to those expressing pain, we must do so in a way that is safe for the self. This means we don't allow ourselves to be surrogate punching bags for that which hurt the person or people expressing, and we don't stand there to be an outlet for that rage. To allow the hurt to be directed AT US.
Tell me ABOUT your pain and experience, what you are feeling, what you are seeing, what happened and is happening - but do not BLAME ME for it. Let's together look at the SYSTEM. I may very well be a PART Of that system and if that's the case I am willing to do what needs to be done in me to shift. But I'm still not the CAUSE or the ROOT. Even if there is a violence in me, that was taught to me. And I will do MY HEALING WORK to integrate that part.
Blame doesn't work. We can get mad and call things out - behaviors, ways of being, patterns - and at times we are going to have to sit through a wave of expression - but again we must hold ourselves in esteem so we can know what is ours, what is not, and where we have power to change things and where we don't.
This is tricky. But we are not to be abused as we allow for those who need to express to express.
Boundaries are key. Listening with a strong sense of self is key.
We are always talking systems, and then boiling it down to any work we need to do in ourselves as we heal that system within ourselves.
All victimizers were taught. It didn't START with any of us. But it can end with us if we own what we are seeing enough to change it within ourselves without going into self blame.
We All Get Triggered:
It’s ok to be triggered. To not be in a position to be able to hold space for someone. To want to invalidate them because their expression makes us uncomfortable. The BEST thing to do in this situation is To CALL IT OUT in yourself and say that honestly. Don’t stick around if you’re going to get defensive, if you’re going to minimize or feel the need to convince whoever is talking that their view and feelings are wrong. If you need the expresser to change themselves to make you comfortable, if you need them to validate you or tell you that you are good - give space. Don’t engage.
Don’t do it.
If you can’t be there to learn and listen, to really HEAR what they are saying through the rage, sadness or whatever else they are expressing, to become an ally for them and their experience - BACK OFF.
THIS is how we move forward.
A world where people are SAFE to express their feelings, to have those feelings validated and those experiences held and witnessed, who are shown that they matter and that their voices matter - is a world of empowered people.
THIS is Emotional Mastery - and this is where we get the strength to address the ROOT ISSUES that people NEED US TO ADDRESS to make this world a better place.
It is the fact that people are being told constantly to doubt their feelings and their perceptions, to feel that they are crazy or too emotional, being made to feel that their view is WRONG is the REASON we have so much violence and suppression. So much disunity. So much division. The expression isn’t the problem.
Stating a problem doesn’t CREATE the problem.
If we didn't see the problem before it was stated, again this stating didn't create it and telling the person who stated it to stop stating it WON'T make it go away.
Being upset about the problem ISN’T THE PROBLEM. We must listen. We must be willing to change the systems causing the problems, not to become an unwitting support of the system through trying to suppress people and their expression.
There Is Always Truth To be Seen In Someones Expression Of Pain.
If you are triggered by someones expression, there’s truth in it. It’s probably something YOU don’t want to have to look at.
Have compassion for yourself as you would them, and then do your inner work until you can listen open heartedly.
Again this doesn’t mean that their perspective is 100% correct or that you have to fully AGREE with them and what needs to be done. But understanding IS KEY to moving forward. No matter what, there is never a downside to really leveling with someone. No war is ever created through understanding.
We are never going to create a safe world so long as we are making people unsafe in their experience and expression. I
f you really want a better world, learn to listen and validate even when it’s hard for you.
You don’t have to agree - but showing up is the key.
The person will evolve to a ‘higher vantage point’ of power when held in love, not challenged with antagonism.
And we will see what WE CAN DO to help them and support them and change our way of being to make this world more fair through this process.
Lastly, don’t try to ‘fix’ people who are in pain. Pain is a NATURAL RESPONSE to trauma. So lets look at THAT.
Don’t treat the symptom like it’s the problem. It isn’t. Respect that people are reaching out when they emote and that is for a GOOD REASON.
They are suffering and we must acknowledge it.
How they see it, how it is, all of it.
Let the expression rise and fall, rise through the wave.
Let them vent and come to a new way of seeing and an action plan.
Help them by holding space.
You would want someone to do the same for you. I know you would.
We are being given a chance to hear, so we can change, and thus heal.
Are we willing?