Day 7: Self-kindness mini-course
In this, our last segment of our mini-course, I wanted to talk to you about "them."
I see a lot of people eat themselves up inside with anxiety, grief, rage, and most of all guilt about "those guys" -- family members, or friends, who have slipped into the insanity of this time.
It's important that we take a moment to look at "them" so that we can find peace with ourselves.
First, indulge me in a little detour.
If you know me, you know that I love dogs, and dogs love me. I love those videos where sick dogs get help and become someone's pet. I love pet training shows. My recent obsession is Dog IMpossible (DisneyPlus), mostly because the trainer believes things I also believe.
Most mean dogs are actually terrified. They have in their heads that they are in danger all the time. They need to learn that they are safe and loved.
Back to the point -- it's been my experience that "they" are terrified. When I see "them" out there protesting I don't see defiance.
I see terror.
In my personal experience, "they" are terrified of being left out or left behind. This looks like a terror of losing power, and there's a lot of truth in that.
Not belonging is deadly in human beings. Quite literally, there are a variety of studies which show that being "othered" can literally cause a person to die.
It also can cause a lot of rage.
In this mini-course, we've learned that everyone has an inner-tyrant who is fighting to keep each of us safe.
Imagine if you will that this inner-tyrant believes that you are left out through no fault of your own. The world has changed through no fault of your own. Terrifying. So terrifying that your inner-tyrant finds the terror itself to be deadly.
The inner-tyrant decided that this horrible feeling has got to be their fault.
Remember you're dealing with the logic of a three year old.
This three year old is fed 24 hours a day with people who say: You're being left behind. These people hate you. They are wrong and you are right. <-- messages that terrifying the three year old even more.
(Many of have loved ones who have transformed into a terrified version of themselves after watching certain channels for a some time.)
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?
When a dog is in "the red zone," he is unable to hear or think.
When a person is in "the red zone," he is unable to hear or think.
How do you snap a dog out of it?
You have to distract them to snap them out of it. You can use sound or a hose or throw a ball at them or... you're looking to distract, not injure them or yourself.
What works for a person? Again, in my experience these folks feel left out, that they don't fit in.
This is what I do:
* I say a very loud: "Hello."
* When they turn to me, I give them a big smile and say something like, "Tough times, eh?"
The point here is to distract, not to engage.
What else works? "Nice day today" or "How are you?" or something just off the wall like -- "I like that shirt."
This is a distraction that can help shift the brain.
Once you've shifted someone out of non -thinking mode, they are ready to hear what you have to say.
"It's going to be okay." "I hear you." "This is a hard time for everyone." These work.
You can't always be sure with dogs or people that they won't bite you -- literally or figuratively. So be careful.
In the end there is there is no "them" only "us."
I can hear you -- "but" "but" "but".
NO. There is no "them."
Think of it this way -- you need a kidney. Someone offers to give you theirs but s/he is one of "them."
Are you really going to refuse it?
Over the last week, we've talked about ideas and tools to help you become more kind to yourself. There are lots of links and people to look up, if you're interested. Doing this work can change your life -- truly.
Being kind to yourself can mean that you learn to be kind to the terrified and misled in our would. Your kindness might be the thing that soothes their fear. Soothing their fear may bridge their way back into your love and your life.
Kindness always starts inside.