I’ve recently engaged with The Art of Charm, an american enterprise that specialises in helping people overcome social awkwardness in a variety of life situations, and one of the many things that podcast host and AoC mastermind AJ Harbinger said that struck a chord with me is that no matter what, you should always leave people better than you found them.
There’s a lot of talk about toxic people, and most advice out there is to cut them out. Now I’m not going to say you shouldn’t do that as I went through a phase where I was so crushed by the toxic people in my life that the only way to begin to grow, find light and happiness, was to disengage from those people, but I would like to put it out there for the souls ready to hear this, that “toxic people” are just wounded souls, like you, only they express that wound in a different way. Perhaps even, in a way that seems alien or unfathomable to you.
I am a wounded soul. Rejected, persecuted and abused both emotionally and psychologically, I am still triggered by seemingly innocent things that infringe upon my rights. As a wounded soul, I know that I am desperately seeking love and forgiveness within myself and acceptance from others.
I believe that 99% of people who lash out at others are also just wounded souls doing their best to deal. The question then is why do so many human beings attack each other verbally, emotionally, and psychologically?
Wouldn’t it be amazing if instead of focusing on what is wrong with the person you are in conflict with, you could focus on how to close the gap?
Instead of confronting a person with a list of character flaws and defects, instead of allowing anger or irritation at another person to overwhelm us, we accepted where the person we see in front of us is, right there, in that moment.
Accept that their behaviour comes from wounds that may be different to yours and that it doesn’t make them any better or worse. It’s not a competition to be the one with the deepest wound. It’s not about who is right or wrong.
We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison
No one knows what another person is going through unless you ask them, and everyone is going through something that they probably won’t talk about.
Holding space is a concept that is growing in popularity and it’s easy to see why. Holding space for a wounded soul is probably the best thing you can do for them to help them work through their pain.
If you don’t know, in this context, holding space is about staying present in the heat of a confrontational moment. Something really amazing happens when you can remain present in the face of conflict. Holding space gives you the unique perspective to potentially help raise someone up.
Initially you might realise that this person’s reaction is not about you and this might be followed by an epipiphany of compassion and sometimes even humour at the absurdity of the situation. I know several people who have had this experience of laughing out loud. Sometimes it eased the tension, while other times it heightened the other person’s reaction.
Something else that can happen is the ability to draw the person’s attention to the true nature of the problem and counter with something constructive.
This doesn’t always happen though, and you shouldn’t feel bad if it doesn’t, it isn’t for us to fix others. It isn’t a duty, nor is it a responsibility.
Empathic people can find it difficult to separate themselves from the suffering of others. Empaths are easily wounded and easily drained by the negative conflicts that social interactions often bring, while simultaneously taking on the emotional suffering of others upon themselves.
With practice, holding space is a technique that allows the empath to manage conflict without the overwhelm that toxic situations might bring.
It also allows the other person to see where wounds are driving their own conflicts, helps them come to terms and rise out of it. Shining the light of awareness on what is happening is much more useful and avoids bringing them shame which only serves to perpetuate the cycle of suffering.
If you are interested in what it is to hold space and want to learn more about it, follow the link to the article Understanding How to Hold Space on the informative website: Spiritual Awakening Process.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you enjoyed it please give it a clap. The best way to show your appreciation is to engage and debate the issues with me. So if you are struggling with conflicts with loved ones or if you are also learning how to hold space, thoughts and comments on the subject are welcomed.
Love and Blessings.