Tuesday, 11 February 2014 11:22

Understanding Ourselves and Others

February 2014 Becoming Conscious Newsletter

For many of us 2014 has started with a series of ups and downs and stops and starts. Patience to learn right timing and to surrender to Divine Right Timing (DRT) seems to be a current theme for many people at the moment. There is always a time to act and a time to pause, observe and wait for further information in order to gain clarity around a situation before we make our move. When we are settled, open and clear the information comes through at the right time. If we push and try to control outcomes often it backfires and we end up with something that we didn’t quite want, dealing with things we didn’t envisage or in situations we would never have happily chosen for ourselves. The same applies if we are the ones being pushed by someone who wants to control an outcome. If we are not strong and clearly aligned we can be manipulated and cajoled to go along with things that aren’t right for us or are not supported by DRT and if this happens a lot for us, our lives can begin to look like a roller coaster ride. We can be pushed from pillar to post not really knowing where we are in all of this and feeling lost in our own life.

We can find ourselves in situations (or even relationships), that we wouldn’t normally become involved in, because we weren’t clear on motives when we went in or because we got swept along without finding a space to become clear on the timing or our place in the situation we were being asked to engage with. It might seem easier sometimes just to keep the peace and go along with someone else’s plans for us – but does that really make us happy in the end? For many of us it can feel very difficult to stand up and say “no this is not working for me”, or to put the brakes on when a project has already started and others are expecting us to be there and be involved in it… but have you ever been stuck in a situation you really didn’t want to be in? Or felt dread towards an event you felt you HAD to attend? I wonder… Have you ever taken the time to consider why you didn’t stand up and say “No” in the first place?

Everyone we are in relationship with, whether that is a spouse, partner, parent, sibling, child, friend or co-worker, is in our lives for a reason. There is no mistake with this and in every relationship in which we are involved, there is an opportunity for growth and learning. In some of our relationships, we can find it very difficult to open our heart and fully engage with or love the other person. There may be emotional pain and hurt between the two of you, there could be painful childhood issues, feelings of abandonment, abuse or distrust that we are affected by or painful co-dependence upon each other. It could even be an “I love you and then I hate you” type of relationship. Sometimes we see that one person can even take on the role of the bully while the other becomes the victim. There are so many dynamics and archetypes that we can take on and make our own, but underneath at our core, are we really those people? Are we really the bully/tyrant? Are we the downtrodden victim or the precious princess? Or are these purely programmes or patterns of behaviour that we have unknowingly, (unconsciously!), taken on and embodied but that with awareness and personal work we can remove from our psyche?

Sometimes it is easier to see these behaviour patterns in other people first rather than in ourselves, but if we take the time to examine ourselves and be brutally honest, our patterns are there to be seen just like anyone else’s. We are not exempt from running undesirable programmes and we must be just as willing to work through our own destructive patterns of behaviour as we are to point out someone else’s.

How would you feel if someone called you “a princess” or “a mother” archetype? Would you see that as flattering or cute or would you be offended? And how would you handle it if someone suggested that you were running a “bully tyrant” or “victim” programme? Sometimes when people point out to us what they see in us it can be really uncomfortable to hear but if we don’t immediately become defensive of ourselves we can take their words and use them as a starting point for the next step of our journey of self-discovery.

When we feel defensive in situations like these, very often it is bringing to light a place within us that we have not seen, cleared or healed yet. Their words are acting like triggers to these parts of self that can now be explored and witnessed and their words are highlighting places within us where we may need to apply self-acceptance or self-forgiveness. When the work around these “behaviours” has been done we will no longer be defensive but will be able to hear the words, acknowledge them and admit that they are probably right – perhaps our behaviour was a bit “off”, and then love and forgive ourselves for it and APOLOGISE to them if necessary! When we have hurt someone we care about, it should feel natural to apologise – it should not feel like a chore. If it does then perhaps more self-work is required in order to get to understand why we are feeling that way.

From time to time we will naturally come across people with whom we find it very challenging to get along with. They may be a major trigger for us on many levels. This could be karmic, from other times and places or simply because the unhealed parts within us resonate hugely with the healed or unhealed parts of them. Here is the learning opportunity – to find within ourselves exactly what it is that is so triggered by them or their behaviour. This can occur sometimes even before the other person has uttered a single word. There is an energetic reaction there, perhaps even a feeling of wanting to move away from that person or avoid them all together. We must ask ourselves: Are we moving away from them to avoid facing something within us? Are we moving away from them because their behaviour is narcissistic or dangerous or are we moving away from them because we have honestly taken the time to look deeply and done the personal internal work to know that nothing more needs to be done in this relationship and there is no resonance there …? Are unresolved (avoidance) issues or emotions present or can we answer this honestly from a place of neutrality?

Clearly it is wise to be able to view these situations from a place of neutrality and this place can only be attained through personal healing and clearing work. Holding neutrality is a skill or an art that is beneficial in every aspect of our lives and is completely achievable once we set out minds to it through the use of a regular meditation practice and with assistance from particular tools and techniques*. From this place of neutrality we are able to sense the energy signature of the person we are involved with to assess the intention behind their words and whether they are being infiltrated by other energies that are impacting their behaviour and as well we are able to observe their history in order to ascertain whether their behaviour shows them to be trustworthy and safe or otherwise.

If we are a gentle, open or sensitive type of person we are particularly vulnerable to entering relationships with people who are unsafe merely because we are naturally open and trusting. This can lead to a string of relationships (of any type) where we are the one left feeling hurt, betrayed, used and exhausted. This in time can lead us to begin to close our heart – as a type of safety mechanism, to protect us from getting hurt again. This is not helpful as we cannot give or receive love with a closed heart. A wise choice then would be to learn how to identify the characteristics of an unsafe person in order that we might break our own cycle of repeating patterns of behaviour and make wiser choices as to whom we engage with.

This is an excerpt from the book Safe People by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend in which they outline the personality and behavioural traits of both safe and unsafe people. I find it an excellent tool when assessing the people I have been in relationship with. Remember that the intention is not to judge the person but merely to witness their behaviour so that we may discern if this is a person we should connect with or not. This is particularly important if we find that we are playing the role of a “victim”, “rescuer” or “martyr” and wish to move on towards healthier more empowering relationships.

Recognising the following traits of unsafe people will keep you and your relationships safe:

• Unsafe people do not like to admit their weaknesses. Being open and vulnerable is essential to a relationship. Sometimes people will try to hide their weaknesses by focusing on your weaknesses instead. Putting you down is an easy way to build themselves up. If you are the one with the problems, then they can feel superior.

• Unsafe people are religious instead of spiritual. People join religious groups for many reasons, but if someone is clinging to it and its principles as a way of avoiding their own issues, they will never learn what they need to about themselves.

• Unsafe people are defensive. A self-assured person is always open to feedback, expressions of concern and even criticism, especially by people who love him. If you confront someone with your concerns and he gets upset or angry, he is not able to hear you and not willing to take responsibility for his actions.

• Unsafe people are self-righteous instead of humble. These people see themselves as above everyone else and refuse to see their own negative qualities, often by projecting their own flaws and insecurities onto others.

• Unsafe people apologise without changing their behaviour. A common pattern in unsafe relationships is expressions of regret and apologies and promises to change. But apologies and promises need to be followed by real behaviour modifications. Safe people will do so not because they feel they have to, but because they truly want to help themselves and the person they love.

• Unsafe people avoid facing their issues. It is far easier for an unsafe person to blame others for their problems than admit they have a problem or take steps to deal with those issues themselves. Furthermore, they treat others with a lack of empathy when they are upset, find fault in others, and often fail to forgive others for their mistakes.

• Unsafe people flatter you instead of talking to you. Someone who truly cares about you will share their concerns about you and will be honest with you. Someone who only tells you your good points is trying to keep you liking them.

• Unsafe people demand trust instead of earning it. Trust can only be built over time. It grows when we experience repeated and consistent caring behaviour. Unsafe people often believe that you should trust them right away and act hurt or defensive if you don’t. But trust must be earned.

• Unsafe people lie. Everyone tells untruths sometimes, but unsafe people see deception as an effective way of dealing with problems. Safe people admit their deceitful side and work at being more honest.

• Unsafe people don’t grow. We all have aspects of ourselves that need improvement or behaviours that inhibit our personal well-being and safe people try to learn and grow over time. Blaming others, responding defensively and failing to change inhibits personal growth and keeps a person at the same emotional level throughout life, without changing themselves either for their own benefit or anyone else’s.

Any of these characteristics are a red flag, whether they appear in a romantic relationship, or with a friend, family member or co-worker. No one is perfect and change takes time. But if you notice that someone is resistant to hearing your concerns, becomes angry or defensive, blames you for their behaviour and does not show signs of wanting to change, you have to proceed with caution and perhaps find someone else who will be both a safe person and safe for you as well.

Here are some of the character traits for safe people:

SAFE PEOPLE:

Admit their weaknesses
Own where they are wrong
Are open to confrontation
Are trustworthy
Are humble
Know they don’t have it “all together”
Recognise they are not perfect
Recognise that perfectionism is not nourishing
Are not dangerous to others
Are not self righteous
Are spiritual and not religious
Do not demand trust, they earn it
Are open to feedback
Are more interested in doing what is right than doing what is right in their own eyes
Change behavior not just apologise
Do not avoid working on their problems, but deal with them
Confess
Are forgiving
Face relationship problems
Are empathetic and act on empathy
Are in the process of learning and growing
Take responsibility for their lives
Don’t blame others for their problems
Share their problems with others to help others grow
Seek to avoid hurting others
Are open to an “audit” personally from those they care about
Are more concerned about their relationship(s) than their image
Internalize grace and therefore feels love and can give love
Are accountable to God
Don’t externalize their problems
Do not withdraw
Seek growth and maturity
Tell the truth
Connect with others instead of avoiding closeness, are not isolated
Encourage freedom, do not dominate
Respect boundaries
Seek the approval of God not men
Are not enmeshed
Are not manipulative
Value and nurture separateness
Confront instead of flatter

So at this time on the planet because so much is changing in terms of support for our spiritual growth and expansion, we may find that we are continually coming up against people with whom we find ourselves in difficult relationships. It may feel like there are always little niggles or disagreements taking place. We have the choice then, to dig deeper in understanding our part in the relationship and to look at our triggers in order to heal and clear them, hold neutral space while the other person goes through their own process of healing and clearing and assess in fact whether they are willing to do that or not, or else to move away from their unsafe or unstable behaviour if we feel that there are other forces at play whose agenda make any healing or rehabilitation of the relationship impossible.

As well, many of the archetypes and programmes that people are identifying with and playing out are coming up to be healed and released both personally and globally so we can often see great numbers of people playing out a particular pattern and we can see the micro/macro of how this is being worked with in the planetary field. It can often feel really personal though. Especially if we still have these unhealed parts within us that are triggered, and so holding neutrality in order to observe it clearly can be hard for us.

Whilst this is often a really uncomfortable process to be going through it also is a way of sorting “the wheat from the chaff” – it is a process of alignment and an opportunity for spiritual growth, deeper understanding and spiritual expansion and ultimately self empowerment and a lesson in mastering relationships.

Try to hold emotional stability and neutrality as we go through these changes and know that you are not alone…

With love
Karen 

 

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