Stimulation

I was working with a friend this week that had an intensely emotional exchange with another person. My friend told me she had “made” this person feel angry.

angry cat

Let’s be clear on this. We NEVER make another person feel anything. We are 100% responsible for our intentions in what we say and do, and 0% responsible for how that is received by another person. This is so important to understand at the depths of our souls if we want to stay open to another person’s discomfort. Her intent had been to gain some understanding and perhaps help this person. Whatever she had said, or did, simply stimulated unmet needs in the other person. If we start to take responsibility for that, our goal now becomes to “make it better”, to apologize, and the focus is now on us, not on them. This won’t lead to empathy and connection with the other person.

If the other person is expressing their unmet needs as anger, and they are directing that towards us, it can be very difficult to stay self-connected, to have the ability to be open to a connection with them. We would need to excuse ourselves from the situation and gain some self-empathy. Perhaps we just need some understanding ourselves that we just wanted to help, or gain understanding. Our intentions were not to cause harm or distress. Once we can self-connect we may be able to go back to the person and start again. To be open to what is going on for them, and to help them self-connect. We may at this point be such a stimulus for that person, that it won’t be possible for us to continue our dialogue at that time. But we need to remember that stimulating something in another person does not mean we caused it, or are responsible for it.

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