If you think about the seasons, of course you know that Fall is the one between summer and winter. Although only North Americans call it Fall, as in other parts of the world we call it Autumn. The photos of today’s shooting are the fallen leaves after a storm.
If you think of age, though, Fall is a period of maturity verging on decline. The photo below of the dried and aged leaves show exactly how beautiful ageing is.
If you look for the verb, Merriam Webster will define it, as:
to come or go down quickly from a high place or position; to come or go down suddenly from a standing position; to let yourself come or go down to a lower position
Now I could also talk about someone close to my heart, who fell very badly. This someone is doing well though, and has been very lucky to have escaped unharmed, except for some bruises and head ache.
This accident has been paradoxically helpful, because it has served to bring two people back to each other.
Their conflict made me ponder about the uncontrolled use and fall of words, which are inherent to arguments, where negative emotions supersede reason, creating sentences that become stories. People believe them as the only truth, not noticing the damage they create for their power to crush, to crack, and open deep wounds. People are left with misunderstandings, which open abyssal fissures in any relationship.
These two particular people had never experienced such a conflict, because they have never had an eye to eye conversation before. But there was enough resentment ‘garbage’ accumulated, and at least for one of them, it was about time to say enough.
I am reading the book ‘Non-Violent Communication’, from Marshall Rosenberg. I am devouring it because it epitomizes all we should know to avoid the unguided fall of words in our communication with others.
“People are disturbed not by things, but by the view they take of them.”
This book brings very simple concepts to help us take responsibility for our feelings. They are simple and for that, are one of the most difficult things to do. We are better off when we understand the root of our feelings. Think about this:
What others do may be the stimulus of our feelings but not the cause.
Well, according to Rosenberg, when someone gives a negative message, we can receive it in four ways:
- we blame ourselves. Perhaps because of lower self esteem and need of acceptance from the person who judged us.
- we blame others. We might be angry because we feel lack of gratitude for what we have done for the person.
- we sense our own feelings and needs. By making an effort to recognise our feelings and needs, we focus our attention on what hurts us instead of blaming others.
- we sense other’s feelings and needs. Conversely, we attempt to make a conscious effort to understand what is behind the person’s message to us.
Options 3 and 4 are better options. If we deepen our awareness and accept responsibility for our feelings, we will be able to connect them with our needs, expectations, beliefs and values, and might as well stop blaming others.
The two people I mentioned before, blamed each other. Big time. And lots of pride and resentment kept them apart for a few months.
I am partial to the situation and for that prefer not to ‘judge’ neither of them, and instead help them get back together.
I hope they will succeed; and that particularly they realise that love is the only thing that connects them and not a 5 minutes conversation that got out of hand. Accepting what triggered their emotional burst, being aware of each other’s feelings and needs, and respecting it, is a wiser choice. Pride just sets them apart.
That is a choice any of us can make everyday in every conflict, other than opting to regret it later when the situation has grown beyond repair.
I wish for these two people to find each other again, and to enjoy the changing seasons together, from Fall to Summer, many years to come.