What do I say when my client/child/friend . . .
retreats, physically and/or verbally
isn't behaving like themselves
becomes very emotional and I have no idea why
becomes very emotional and I (think I) know why
The More Important Concern
I get these questions a lot, and my response is . . . what few people want to hear: it depends. But it depends on a specific constellation of factors.
Our priority as living, breathing systems who walk around getting influenced by things and people around us and who, in turn, influence things and people around us . . . is to position ourselves to do what is wise and called-for in any situation.
What the heck does that mean?
It means that we are all ever-changing systems. We have nervous systems and muscular systems and respiratory systems that are constantly adjusting to their circumstances and seeking balance. And we are all part of other, larger systems, from families to communities and citizens and beyond.
We are open systems, meaning we are subject to the influence of other people and things and events. We are not static beings!
Let's Talk Solutions
One thing we can do to make life for ourselves and others a bit easier and less chaotic-feeling, is to learn how to regulate our own nervous systems. Why? Because a regulated nervous system isn't only good for us, it's good for those around us. It's an invitation to regulate.
Have you ever been minding your own business, chilling out at home or wherever, and then someone comes into the house and is all riled up for whatever reason, ranting about the news or something that happened at work? How did that make you feel? We can feel the dysregulation (as in, the opposite direction of regulation) around us. Similarly, we can feel the regulation around us.
The Moment of Choice
Once you are routinely able to feel the state of your own nervous system as well as that of others, you are in a position to make an informed choice about what to do or say next. Your next move comes from the wisdom of your own body and its experiences, and your own mind and its pattern-recognition, memories, and biases.
When you are embodied, as in, acting from what's occurring, moment to moment, in your experience, you are then in a position for wise speech (or silence). You might find that the most skillful thing to say to one person could be quite unskillful to another.
What? How am I supposed to figure all of this out?
The good news is that it's possible. The less-fantastic news is that it takes a bunch of work that only you can do, and there are no worksheets or other go-to tools. Back to the good news, though, and the reality that you're the tool. Mindfulness teaches us how to show up through our own experiences--with the help of them--with their wisdom.
Don't try to figure out what to say in any circumstance, in advance. Prepare yourself for saying or doing what the any moment calls for.
Get to know yourself with the guidance of meditations like these, so you can better serve yourself and others.
May you be at ease . . .