Last weekend while enjoying a seaside cocktail just before sunset I witnessed an argument between a couple. The flames of the fight flickered, then became engulfed – swearing, blaming, raising of voices, shaming, punishing, and eventually abandoning occurred. It was sad to observe, and I was reminded of my younger self.
We all have a choice in how we react to triggers and how willing we are to participate in the process of being scorched. Encounters like this, whether observed or experienced, afford learning opportunities for self-awareness. Imagine that fire inside burns stronger and hotter with every trigger, with every infuriation. Without tending to that fire within, momentum builds and simmers like soot ready to reignite when provoked and prodded at, when triggered.
This situation reminded me of what happens when we get lost in feelings and aren’t sure what we need. It’s easy to become reactive. The hard truth is, much of our emotional reactivity – our flames, our rage, are cries of unmet needs, often stemming from inner child or adult wounding (or both) that have not been acknowledged, soothed, and validated. SALT practices work to help tame our inner rage and better regulate our emotions.
I must admit, I am so fortunate to have a wonderful circle of supportive and inspiring women around me, and each woman adds something special to my life in their own way. In honor of the #womensupportingwomen campaign, I would like to honor and challenge one of the women who I am proud of and grateful for in my life, Donna Rustigian Mac!
Years ago when I was struggling with my worth, impacting my presentation abilities, this woman helped me find my voice. Fast forward years later, and I am now on her iVoice Communications Board of Advisors, along with a few other leading ladies. Donna is a fellow communication coach who, too, has a heart-centered focus. Donna Rustigian Mac, Founder and Chief Talent and Development Officer, focuses on “healthy human connections” through high level effective communication. She has an extensive background in media and communications, and has authored a book, Guide to a Richer Life : Know Your Worth, Find Your Voice, Speak Your Truth. I was even fortunate enough to have my experience working with Donna included in the book.
Donna has something for everyone – including professional and interpersonal supports, and free mindfulness sessions online this summer! Please check her out at iVoice Communication or on ig : @donnamacvoice.
Who are the special women in your life? When is the last time you let them know how much they mean to you?
Reality – This happens. The more clear we become about our own feelings and needs, the more tolerant (or not) we also become of the people and things around us. As clarity surfaces, we notice more of how we feel in the presence of others. This is great insight!
Sometimes we find our needs are no longer compatible with the people or things around us. Sometimes our needs change, and that’s okay. This doesn’t mean we need to cut off a relationship or abandon anything, or (big one here for me) label others as “bad” or “wrong” – they are simply different. It’s an opportunity to get curious and assess if someone or something is or isn’t in alignment with our values, and where to go from here with as much compassion as possible.
Perhaps remaining in connection is possible despite the differences, but with more open communication, healthy boundaries, and a whole lot of self-love. Or, perhaps it means ending a connection. When these practices become the default lens in which to experience the world, we surely may see the relationships in our lives through a new view. And sometimes, this results in choosing to not all move forward together – an honest reality without judgement.
Even if just one person engages in a committed practice of compassionate communication shifts can begin to occur at home. The reason is because the past responses to conflict are disrupted and replaced with more grounded, regulated, and honest expressions of what is really going on. Those wild, free-flowing outbursts of frustration, anger, resentment, and impatience, now look something like,
Hey, you were late for our therapy appointment. I felt irate, helpless, embarrassed, and worried. Communication, dependability, and participation are really important to me, especially when it comes to us. Can you agree to call or text me in the future if you’re going to be late?
Leading with this approach (instead of yelling, shaming, throwing digs, or ignoring), even if just by one person, can truly help to begin the process of creating different responses. Different responses translate into different feelings and different feelings have the ability to transform connection at home (or anywhere, really). This takes practice, and with practice, you may just find more peace!
Perhaps the most important driver of connection. However, being vulnerable is much easier said than done. It takes courage, a willingness to be seen, ownership, and scary honesty. It’s being strong, confident, and secure about our own experiences. So much so, that even amidst uncertainty, the risk remain is scarier than the risk of being truly seen (regardless of the response or outcome). Just like empathy, vulnerability is a skill that can be learned and developed. SALT is here to help cultivate connection with self and others. Thank you for showing up.
A few things I believe to be true : We hurt and we heal in relationship (including the relationship with have with ourselves) ; We are often unconsciously and unintentionally wounded by our parents and/or those who raised us ; We have the ability to reparent ourselves if we choose. It took me years to realize that my parents are simply human, JUST LIKE ME. We are ALL imperfect AND we are ALL doing the best we can to meet our needs. When we, as adults, are able to confront our own wounding in an effort to heal ourselves, we are helping to prevent the wounding (again, mostly unconsciously and unintentionally) of children entrusted to our care. What a priceless gift to the next generation! Let’s first start by getting curious, gaining clarity around why we feel and do some of the things we do, and then begin talking to and reassuring that inner child within us … A real find place to start!
Sometimes it is scary confronting the real reasons why we feel the way we do. Sometimes we learn things we may not want to truly face. And, sometimes it is in finally confronting those “unwell” feelings and unmet needs that we can inch closer to feeling ease, peace, joy, and deeper purpose. There is no shame here at SALT when we get scary honest with ourselves. Come as you are.