03 Sep Marcie’s Mindfulness Moment | Letting Go of Enemy Images
I have loved fall ever since I was a little girl-mostly because my birthday is in October. I have fond memories of decorating pumpkins, bobbing for apples, jumping in leaf piles, and sipping cider at my parties. As a child, I didn’t quite understand the concept of nature’s lifecycle and that what occurs in fall is nature actually showing us what it’s like to let things go- to release what no longer serves us and birth anew. Now as an adult, I like to consider that this is a time to surrender thoughts of “enemy images”—or the negative thinking that has me believing that something is truly wrong with people who think differently than me. Much easier said than done. Over the past five years, I’ve been studying the work of Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D., author of Non-Violent Communication, and he offers a few basic (and profoundly complex) principles to help with this process. His philosophies center around the concept that everything we say or do is an attempt to meet a need. So, consider that your friend, significant other or family member isn’t “wrong” for believing what they do, that they’re simply trying to get resolution of an unmet need. We have a host of needs that can be categorized by physical well-being, peace, connection, play, autonomy, honesty, and meaning (Center for Nonviolent Communication-www.cnvc.org). Perhaps the patient that insists on one of everything from your comfort menu, telling you that they hate the dentist (no offense, Doc!), gagging and choking at everything you attempt in their mouths—is honestly trying to get their needs for safety, consideration, and support met? Maybe the staff member who is always pranking others and annoying the team with silly antics is just trying to meet their needs to be playful and to be included. That sales rep that you try to hide from once a month–maybe their strategies to achieve financial security are a bit unskillful. If we start to train our brains to attempt to understand what need the other is trying to meet, then we can jump off of the judgment wheel that we easily fall into when we really believe that others are “wrong”. You must consciously shift your thought process and inflect a bit of positive intent for the other to achieve success. Mine is a work in progress, taking one day at a time. I hope these ideas can somehow help you on your journey to letting go of your own “enemy images”.
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