As a truth from the jackal world, deeply engrained in our language in thinking, hearing and speaking, this pattern is almost omnipresent in our lives.
I make you sad / happy / angry – You make me sad, happy, angry …
We mutually cause our feelings.
We believe our feelings are caused by concrete events, actions.
And sure as clockwork, this thinking is followed by some kind of defensive action or a dark sense of guilt.
Our inspiring teacher and lead researcher Marshall Rosenberg embraced this truth deeply.
And he also saw an alternative. It is possible – however likely – to move to another experience, the giraffe experience – the awareness of needs. This requires an intention to stop, to look deeply, at what really is at the core of our feelings – needs, motivations, values, intentions … – touching life in these qualities in a bodily sense.
It would mean to dispell the illusion that anybody can make me feel something – which in turn helps me to see that I am not making anybody feel something.
As a giraffe I could translate – “You make me feel sad.” into “I notice sadness in me and I do not know why. Are you willing to help me find out what the reason for my feeling is? Right now I can only see a relation to some of your actions.”
The fundamental confusion results from the lack of insight into our deeper motivations and needs. The so-called denial of responsibility or “blame” from a giraffe point of view looks like a request for help and support.
This is why giraffes live longer and more happily.
But the jackal option has its merits.
The choice remains for us to make – go with our jackal normality of perceiving the world without needs, where feelings are caused by others or we cause the feelings of others. Doing so provides us with ease, perhaps. Maybe we feel comfortable with our world view and what we are used to do, in our thinking, speaking and hearing.
And everybody else is seemingly following the same practice. Have you ever felt the relief of being agreed with in your judgments by others. Such a joy!
Or – something different and rather strange … stop and look deeper, feel what is the wonderful need that is at the core of this painful or satisfying experience. That requires courage and the energy to swim “upstream” – some support in this could always be welcome. Liberation is possible – each step of the way – but the way back into the prison of “you make me feel” remains always an easy option.
So – what do you wish to practice, what do you practice?
(Disclaimer 🙂 – The above quote is not from Marshall Rosenberg, it is a teaser by another creative person (unknown to me) from the giraffe-n-jackalfriendship community worldwide. May it function as a playful wake-up call and remembering! Marshall explained this jackal mechanism in his teaching, but he also and mainly taught about the alternative to this. And his experience matches mine – forgiveness and reconciliation are possible.)
To learn more, take a look at the third item on the following chart:
What can we be responsible for and what not …