The dignity of fear

Imagine for a moment that someone you care about deeply … lost the ability to communicate with you. Maybe they were in a car accident or an unexpected stroke occurred.  They could no longer talk or had the coordination to share their ideas and feelings in traditional ways.

Would you mock that person for not being able to express clearly?

Would you blame them for being scared, afraid, or even terrified?

Would you accuse them of not trying hard enough?

Would you yell at them because they had failed you?

Would you walk away from them and never try to connect again?

Yes, this is a dramatic scenario. However, if you consider that this is just the way we tend to treat each other during an argument, you might just change your approach.

We all get scared in moments of high stress …and we don’t necessarily have all the skills and strength to explain everything perfectly. It is so hard to know how to express when it doesn’t feel safe…when you are unsure how it will all turn out.

Reflect on if you would treat this person you love in the same way if they were scared and/or in pain? Most likely you would find compassion within yourself and patience. You would allow for time and space for the person to share in the best way possible without the pressure of expectations. You would be so happy that they were doing all they could in the best way they knew how.

It comes down to the idea of dignity. You would share your own fear, frustration,  and support in a way that would foster a place of  connection. You would want to find a new way of expressing that was kind and helpful to both of you, instead of alienating one another.

Hence, next time you are ready to lash out at someone you love… pause and think about how you would treat them (or how you would want to be treated) with the perspective that they are scared and doing all they can to share.  It goes a long way when you approach from a place of dignity for the person you are trying to communicate with. Give it a shot and see how your dynamic changes!

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