Fragile creatures

“We are fragile creatures and it is from this weakness not despite it that we discover the possibility of true joy.” Dalai Lama.

I picked up the book 'True Joy' written by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu for 20p at a village fair last weekend. I’d like to have more joy. Some days I find it really hard to be joyful and even see anything that is going OK. A fog comes down and I feel overwhelmed. Other days I am able to be really thankful for the things that I do have and there is no focus on what I want and what others seemingly have.

The last few weeks have thrown quite a lot at me emotionally and I have been acutely aware of how much judgement is made about people’s ‘rudeness’ selfishness’ and ‘disrespect’…

From what we know about behaviour, it is clear that behind the judgemental ‘diagnostic’ labels are feelings. ‘Rudeness’, ‘selfishness’ and ‘disrespect’ are all behaviours that are rooted in a feeling (I use inverted comas because I do not find these words useful!). Maybe along the way we have lot our capacity to remember that ‘the rudeness’ is in fact sadness, or frustration, or isolation (to name but a few) that has now popped out in words or behaviour. And if we can get back to remembering that behaviour and words are just an expression of need, we will be able to show a little kindness and tolerance to ourselves and other people.

I realise more and more that these feelings are not weaknesses and they do not mean that any of us are ‘not as good’ as someone else. It is just that we are indeed fragile creatures. And by facing the discomfort of sadness, loneliness and frustration we can in fact begin to build up our strength and find joy in situations and other people more of the time.

We have all heard the saying "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" and I guess that is what this is all about. It is clear that there is real importance of us being brave and facing the discomfort of a situation, rather than turning away from it either physically or emotionally. Because once the discomfort of facing the situation has passed - whether that be in our heads and thoughts or in a physical situation - we can reflect on what it was in us that helped us through it. Plus, when we are brave enough to face the discomfort, it does pass quicker.

So feeling fragile emotionally and facing the uncomfortable bits of life is OK. Trying to look beyond the 'rudeness', 'selfishness' and 'dis-respectfulness' is really helpful too. Because if we remember these things more often, we will notice more calm and even joy.

You know that I am a big fan of solution focus and compassionate communication, and all of what I have said sits within the basic principles of both of these. That is why I am now using both approaches as the foundation for all of what I go out into the world to share… after all, we are all fragile creatures who deserve some joy!