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  • Michaela Patel


Imagine two people arguing. A sight far from rare as we tend to argue our points frequently, desperately attempting to make others acknowledge our version of events. Similar to wearing a pair of goggles - the greater our desire to win the argument, the greater our tunnel vision...

Why do others shut down and what makes us unable of considering another's view point?

Non-aggressive, non-threatening way of communicating is necessary for others to consider hearing us out in the first place. Furthermore, if we are to reach a mutual understanding and truly connect, both partners must possess a healthy dose of two key traits: awareness and empathy. Surprise surprise, these two qualities go hand in hand!

Self-awareness is the ability to observe one’s mind with its thoughts and feeling the resulting emotions in the body without the need to interfere with them.

At the core of being self-aware lies our ability to authentically reflect on our resulting actions (our re-actions). Self-reflection plays a crucial role in our growth. Our future evolution rests on an unbiased analysis of our observations, meaning as detached from the mind and its outcome agenda as possible. Which is extremely hard when all we want is to win, or prove ourselves to others...

If you are to live in truth, you must become present to your intentions. Are you trying to prove others wrong? Are you being fair in given situation? Your Ego craves a contest and control. Your heart, on the other hand, desires cooperation and reaching an agreement. Notice whenever you feel threatened on the spot your Ego takes over in ways that aren't always in your best interest long term.

Self-awareness is the ability to oversee our Ego at work, halting its Rushed, Reactionary, Repetitive outcome. To become self-aware, begin to notice the three Rs of your Ego. Your mind is always looking for problems to solve. You can begin noticing its pressure to be right and to look good. 'Act now to prove others wrong!' it screams. Like pressing a panic alarm, our mind short circuits and body executes usual orders.

But if the usual and the past isn't to be repeated over and over again, we must first realise that the old on longer serves us and the things could be different. Perhaps we don't want to lash out at our loved ones the next time. Perhaps how we are being goes against who we wish to be. Or perhaps the last time we have argued we've sustained an injury...

‘If only others were more empathetic they would consider my feelings.’ we express our disdain and sadness over how others are being. Are others even capable to understand how they made us feel?

So lets talk about empathy. Empathy is the ability to detach (if only for a moment!) from our own personal perspective and feelings. It allows us to lay our pain aside and enter the reality of another. A brave move for sure! We are all born with the ability to be empathic unless the brain has become damaged by an early emotional trauma (like in socipathy and narcissism), head injury, or if structures that are responsible for empathy aren't evolved from birth (typically in primary psychopaths). Empathy is directly linked with our ability to read others non-verbally (which is how we understandood and connected with our environment before we could understand words). This fine quality of being able to observe and tune into another with the healthy intention to maintain harmony of our environment had either grown, or diminished in time. Or, it has evolved in the direction of reading others without ever feeling anything for another but to use this skill for exploitation (cognitive empathy in psychopaths, sociopaths, narcissists). Depending on our exposure to trauma in childhood our genuine abitily to feel others has either shut down (Cluster B personality types), or it has amplified (Empaths). In other words, our empathy has evolved in response to our environment and we are all somewhere along its spectrum which brings its challenges to our emotional table...

I believe that empathy is integral to self-awareness and here is why. To be able to self-reflect we must be able to be truthful with ourselves. This isn’t limited to our thoughts alone but extends onto our feelings. Which brings us to impathy - our inner extension of empathy and the ability to empathise with ourselves. A very different affair from feeling sorry for ourselves, which is where Ego excells! Impathy is all about being genuinely there for ourselves at times we need our support and understanding the most, holding a non-judgemental space for ourselves. Again, a brave act indeed! An act of self-love and self-care to be precise.

Being present to our healing space that is a bag of mental and emotional challenges one has to reconcile with within can be daunting. We oftentimes take the easy escape, avoiding this process by numbing our truth instead. In the process of shutting our connection to ourselves, we inadvertently disconnect from othes unable to consider how they are feeling.

Where is the truth when two people argue? And when it is in our best interest to throw the towel in?

They say the truth is somewhere in the middle. I say the truth is a function of self-awareness. If you look for truth, you’ll find it. The problem is that we look for it in the wrong places and rarely stay on point, on what actually matters in the now, on how to constuctively take that into the future for the higher good so that both parties can 'win' without losing themselves in destruction and Ego agendas. The truth then vanishes in the impermeable space, contaminated by our warped realities - the realities of two people who are majorly unaware how their own, past distorted filters shape their current beliefs. Owning our stuff without shame is a powerful thing that will prevent others from controling us and pinning the mess they are responsible for onto us. It is worth doing, for our piece of mind, even if they cannot admit to it! It allows us to protect ourselves by drawing the line of what we accept and delineate future boundaries of what we definitely won't. Healing ourselves, owning our triggers, raises not only our game and understanding for ourselves, but also our understanding for the limitations of others. For you to find out why you may be drawn into toxic exchanges that are designed lead to bring no resolution, you must study co-dependence, manipulation and covert agression. Learn how this shows up in relationships to avoid being forever traumatised by unhealthy conversations that have the potential to disconnect you from yourself and life. Because clarity only comes to those who are unafraid to see the truth.

Thank you for reading. If my article contributed to understanding yourself, please be generous and share it with others.

Copyright © 2019 Michaela Patel

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