The events of the recent past have called forth this week’s heartfelt essay. Events not only include the horrific attacks in Paris, they also include the killings in Beirut days earlier and the thousands of people fleeing their homelands because of war. The relentless news coverage of deplorable violence have also had an impact on us.
To not acknowledge such events would, in the words of some of our TED* work, be to “deny or minimize current reality.” Much of the world – at least as reported in the 24/7 news – seems to be careening toward a critical choice point.
As we teach in TED*, the Victim Orientation is driven by an inner state of fear and anxiety. This emotional state ignites reactive behavior because human beings don’t like to feel uncomfortable. To manage our fear we adopt some form of “flight, flight or freeze” reactions.
We either fight back with reactive behavior; or we “flee” by avoiding thinking about the violence and want to hide our head in the sand; or we freeze, not knowing what to do or how to respond. Our response has been the last one—-we feel frozen, not knowing how to make sense of these complex and terrifying world events.
When we look at our life experience through this Victim and reactive mindset, it perfectly perpetuates the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ and its interplay of the roles of the Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer.
The DDT is playing out on a world scale. Persecutors striking out against Victims because they, themselves, have felt persecuted. Rescuers striking out against the Persecutors to protect the Victims, only to reinforce the Persecutors perception that they are the Victims being persecuted by the Rescuers.
(You may need to read the above paragraph a couple of times to really see how the roles and perceptions change.) Here is the point we want to stress: everyone is reacting to everyone—-and reacting begets reacting!
This does not only play out on the world stage. It can happen at home, in the workplace and in other relationships in which we have some stake.
As we talked about this week’s essay, we admitted to each other how much we have been affected by the state of the world. When we focused on the violence, we have slipped into this fearful cycle in the past several weeks. With an intense work schedule (all good, but still intense), each of us at times have reacted to the other – sometimes seemingly innocent interactions and other times as we worked through important professional and personal differences of opinions.
We, too, can get caught up in the cycle of reacting begetting reacting. We think we should know better since we teach TED*, which makes it even more upsetting!
Whether it is in relation to world events, politicians we like or don’t like, office “politics” or any form of relationship dynamics, we believe there is sacred wisdom in Mahatma Gandhi’s observation of reactivity begetting reactivity: “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.”
There may not be much we can do to impact the world stage directly. But, as Creators, rather than reacting to reactivity, we can choose to shift our focus to creating compassion, peace and collaboration in our families, workplaces and communities.
And maybe – just maybe – compassion then can beget compassion.