Thursday, 12 February 2009

It's ok, let's talk

(Coldplay - Talk)

Talking openly and honestly with someone you trust, where you don't judge but try to understand, where there is respect, empathy and truthfulness concerning feelings and intentions, can enable people and their relationships to flourish beyond what is often thought possible.

Often, however, that doesn't happen: we play emotional games, we act self-defensively and we generally act in ways that create strife. So, which are your favorite ways of causing rifts in relationships?! Mine are displacement and stonewalling, but there are many others to choose from...

Globalization: "Everybody Does That"
Blame-Shifting: "And you do the same thing but worse."
The Victim: "I'm so good to you, and you treat me so badly."
Gas-lighting: "I was just kidding; Can't you take a joke?"
Entitlement: "You are the one who made me angry; You deserve it."
Denial: "I'm not angry."
Displacement: "Just because you had a bad day at work, don't take it out on me."
Guilt: "I work my ass off to give you everything and you can't even make me some tea."
Shame/Blame: "You are a human slug; you never do anything."
Stonewalling: "This is the way I am, take it or leave it."
Projection: "You think I'm stupid, don't you?"
Devaluation: "You really could lose some of that extra weight."

Actually, I am not proud to have used any, and it hurts to see any used. I really strongly agree with Dr. Bill Cloke's article (from whence these came) that "To not defend ourselves, but instead hear what is being said, and then be able to express our understanding through acknowledgement will beat a box of chocolates any day" (Thanks to Sophie's blog on being open for bringing my attention to this quote). Deeply connected relationships are so important in life, so, so valuable. For these understanding and compassion are essential, and these require openness and honesty. It may be difficult to understand and accept another, to be open to their views, and their criticism, but the benefits that are gained from this make life worth living!

I also believe that only through healing rifts in our own personal lives can the healing of the larger rifts between communities and between nations be achieved.

I know I have just as much work to do here as anyone else and so I am most grateful to all those who spend the time to listen to me and to understand me, and I hope that I too can return this gift to others.

Happy Valentine's day! (And happy non-Valentine's days also!)


  1. Thanks for that - has given me a possible idea for a form assembly at school...i have a theme, a song and now just need to decide how to present it and get the kids thinking and discussing so that they learn!

  2. Wow! cool! You using the Coldplay song?

    It will be interesting to hear how you do it.

  3. very good entry! I agree that we need relationships in which we are less self-defensive and more open - honest and understanding.
    Sometimes in arguments I may be over-sensitive and play the victim in my head (I don't say it out loud) I also have a more deadly version of Stonewalling: 'This is how I am, I'd really like to be better, but I can't/don't know how?'

  4. Thanks!

    Yes there are a lot of traps we can fall into. But on the plus side none of them are real! (though the do seem very real at times)

  5. Haven't really thought it through properly but will have a go i think! Yes, may well use the song - do you know where i can get a download from which doesn't involve me using the internet at school?

  6. Cool!

    Well you can buy and download the track online for a pound or two from several sites, but one of my friends has lent me an mp3 of it to give to you. So can transfer it on msn or something.

  7. That'd be great thanks.


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