I often feel a sense of frustration in today’s political culture where everyone is always trying to “win” with truth! I have for some time known that black and white thinking thinking is a sign of spiritual and emotional immaturity and it seems like many candidates running for office have figured out that condemnation draws a crowd of supporters(John 8:1-11). It seems to me that often missing in many candidates, and many relationships in general, is an inability to process uncomfortable thoughts that allow enough grace, mercy, and safety for all sides to express themselves. A character trait often missing for many running for office.
As Sue and I lead Marriage Re-builders, a ministry for marriages in crisis, at our church we have a saying:
Safety + Being Heard and Understood = Basic Building Blocks of Rebuilding Intimacy
Years ago Sue and I learned a dance called east coast swing. Many years later we learned a new dance called west coast swing. What we found out while learning the new dance was that in the middle of west coast “swinging” we would all of a sudden start to east coast swing. The reason for this was because we had established a muscle memory in ourselves that knew only how to east coast swing. It took us quite some time to unlearn the old muscle memory of east coast swing and to learn the new muscle memory of how to west coast swing. I believe, today, we could probably do both without having any issues.
For us to grow relation-ally we often need to “practice” and exercise new emotional muscles. Often the muscle memory of our old emotional muscles will take over. Like dancing, to learn to exercise new emotional muscles we will need to practice using them. It will require grace, mercy, and often putting down our desire to “win” to explore the thoughts and feelings that we may have never exercised before. We may need to find safe people and community where we can “practice” this. We may need to find mentors that allow us to express those thoughts and feelings and rather than fix us they allow a process to take place that requires just the rights amounts of grace, mercy, faith, and time.
So, Safety + Being Heard and Understood is really the foundation for us to express more intimate and difficult thoughts and feelings.
Below is BLOG topic I wrote several years ago about dancing called the “Cosmic Dance of Life”.. also about learning this relational dance.