Mambo #5

Not the physical dance, the mental/emotional one


Toes stepped on

When you think about it, stewing and bitching are Jackal, or enemy image, thoughts.  Holding them, one assumes that the other person(s) maliciously acted against you, either intentionally or out of stupidity.  They did something to me and now I’m sad/frustrated/upset/angry/etc.  Your toes were stepped on.  It might sound like this: 

“I'm the only one around here clean communicating, but that's ok (fine), because everyone else is stupid and just can't seem to get a hold of it . . . but that's cause they're stupid.”  Or, “I disagree with ______, and I’m totally at peace with that disagreement, and I’m going to act how I want to, not how they want me to.”  “I’m right and they’re wrong, and I can’t make them see it, so whatever, game over, I tried.”  Demeaning, dismissing, or pitying the other satisfies hunger like artificial food . . . it fills the void, but does nourish the body/soul. 


But my toes hurt!

If they do, you’re desiring some self or other empathy about your needs not being met.  And, really wanting your need(s) to be met!  Nothing wrong with that.  Indeed, the pain is the signal that something is amiss.  It’s important to keep dancing though, and not get stuck in your pain.  Getting used to the pain until it shrivels into a bitter kernel that sticks and lodges in your gut is toxic.  Can range from ranting and raving to quiet depression.


I danced, and I’m still hurt

You cleanly communicated with the other(s) and are still not feeling at peace and resolved.  This situation is akin to the proverbial falling off of the horse.  What do you do?  You get back on the horse and ride it again.  After not approaching in the first place, this is where human beings REALLY get caught up in their pain. 


Getting seduced

“Clean communication is impossible.”  “They’re impossible.”  “There is no hope.”  “It’s too hard.”  “I don’t care (but you do).”  “It’s not worth it.”  “It doesn’t matter that much to me anyway; I’ll get over it (but you don’t with peace and grace).”  Fixed way of being + persistent complaint = Racket.

These are the seductive thoughts of the proverbial devil on your shoulder.  Whispering into your mind that the effort is too great, or the other is too _________, or the situation too hopeless.  It can sound like "well, I was honest, and now John isn't talking to me anymore. So screw honesty, I'm going back to making everyone happy with lies." Or, "well, I asked for my 100% and didn't get it, so screw 100%; I'm just going to do what I want without asking.”  It might feel good, but you went to bed with the devil.


Line dancing

You’re in pain, and dancing in pain with an amorphous “they,” or a group of people you’ve lumped together.  “This sucks.”  “This is stupid.”  “I don’t see why it has to be this way.”  “They’re not playing by the rules, so I don’t have to either.”  “Yeah, well they didn’t use NVC so now I’m not going to either!”  “If this is the way they’re going to be, then fine.”  “That ___(country/political party)___ is crazy.”

Rarely is a group so homogenous that addressing them en masse is effective.  Within a political party, there exists a wide spectrum.  Within a country, multitudes of attitudes and opinions. 

Approaching a large or small group with assumptions about the reasons/causes for their actions will likely follow the trite sayings for “assume,” such as making an ASS out of U and ME.  Harkening to your NVC knowledge, judgments and evaluations are tragic and suicidal as they engender defensiveness, counter-aggression, guilt, or some other acidic response. 


Amazing moves!

  • Giraffe In:  Seeking empathy (see NVC)
  • Giraffe Out:  Empathizing with the other(s) (see NVC)
  • Gracefully and peacefully fully work through the pain yourself
  • Seeking support in approaching another(s) – perhaps courage, perhaps language
  • Asking for your 100% (see that document for important strategies and reflections)
  • Meditate on inspiring and empowering words, such as:
    "Strength of heart comes from knowing that the pain that we each must bear is part of the greater pain shared by all that lives.  It is not just 'our' pain but 'the' pain, and realizing this awakens our universal compassion." Jack Kornfield
  • Holding a compassionate heart and mind that rarely needs to clean up dirty communication