It's been interesting to start to think about the value of my work in the values of what people will get at the end and that I'm actually "selling" love, trust, peace through conflict resolution, better communication skills, and relationship hacks.
I'm coming to terms with the fact that people will not come to see me until the relationship has become too unbearable, too big of a pain in their life, or there are too many consequences to not clear things up. As much as I'd like people to treat mediation as preventative medicine, it's mostly used as triage.
Someday I hope to show the magic that happens in a mediation and that then people will trust it more. If people could see the time and energy conflict takes up in their mind and life against the amount of money it costs to hire a mediator early on they would totally hire someone right away.
End rant. Thank you for listening.
I’m curious if it’s possible to initiate with someone who may not want to clear?
Having been hurt by someone is one of the most vulnerable experiences a person can have in their lifetime. Being hurt by someone has many layers. First, the thing that happened doesn't feel good nor safe and how do I know it's not going to happen again. Second, the hurt is often bringing up older hurts. Often, it's hard to distinguish between the hurt right now and the hurt from the past. It's also scary to hear what the other person might say about what happened. What if it hurts more?
You can look at this problem as a consent issue. If they are a "no" to clearing, then honoring that boundary is key to them feeling safe to do so at some point (even if it's far into the future).
Keeping the door open and letting them know (gently) that you'd like to clear with them (even if it's far in the future) is key. Sometimes the invitation can come in a spontaneous moment you run into them and being ready with what you might say would be a good idea. Making sure your invitation is a request and not a demand is also key (let me know if you need further explanation about the distinction).
I'd also say being in touch with your "why" can help create a bridge to their yes. Exploring the layers of why you want to clear with them will help you name to them why they might get inspired to clear with you. Ask yourself over and over again, "why". If you can tell someone why it might benefit them too to have a clearing with you then they might feel safe enough and inspired enough to say yes.
Start off the new year right by having a clear slate and cleaning up your relationships.
Tip 1: Empathy to yourself is the first step in getting out of the blame and shame spiral. But isn't empathy learning to walk in another person's shoes? Yes...but it's also not pushing away your own feelings and needs. Self Empathy is about allowing yourself to have all the feels.
Tip 2: If someone responds to you with a charge in their voice you can choose to react or get curious. Getting curious about what’s going on will invite them to say what’s underneath their words and tone. That way you can have a real conversation about what’s going on rather than just a reactive downward spiral into a fight or an avoidance of what’s really going on for that person.
Tip 3: When you have a long term relationship because of a commitment, be it romantic partnership, housemates, co-parenting, the small stuff can turn big rapidly. Being vigilant about staying clear with each other is time well spent. Staying clear early helps build trust so when the big stuff happens you have practice and not so many built up resentments. But bringing up hard stuff is risky. You can potentially make things worse. Setting up a structured time for feedback helps people prepare themselves to listen.