Today I want to reflect on a distinction we can make in the way we hold and talk about others, or about aspects of our own self. We talk about people, and about aspects of our own being a lot. The orientation taken as we do so though is important. Do you come from a place of being an ally and sponsor, where you are coming alongside the person or part you are reflecting on? Are you asking ‘what do I need to know to be WITH this person?’ Or are you considering them from a position of otherness, where you talk about a person, part, or even group from someplace else?
A key aspect of therapeutic work is sponsorship. Clients come in with problems, and oftentimes the most simple solution seems to be to cut off and move away from whatever it is that is problematic. ‘Getting rid of’ feelings, thoughts, behaviours, difficult relationships, jobs etc is a consistent theme for good reason, on the surface it can be an appealing choice.
The trouble is, we can’t get away from our own self, and we are deeply interconnected with the rest of life. Whatever it is that has provoked us internally or in our world has a resonance with us, that is why it is of note and impactful. Snipping it off or shoving it down inside will do nothing. Holding it, or people, as ‘other’ will create no more understanding, it simply reinforces dysfunction and divides.
There is always more to learn, always more information to discover. Allying with, seeking to understand, and making space for difference and discomfort is a path to living more fully. When we come alongside our experience, or that of another, then connection is present, and the magic of sharing experience healing can begin.
Next time you notice yourself feeling uncomfortable with someone, or something within yourself, ask yourself what it is you need to know to be WITH it. What are you not yet aware of? What do you not yet understand? What might you ask to build rapport? How can you be fully present?
Recognising that you don’t know yet, and there is so much to learn is a great way of being an ally to others, and to your own experience. Who and what are you curious to learn more about today?