(From the “TED* Letter” Archives)

Cultivating TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic) in our relationships with others calls us to develop one of life’s “easier said than done” perspectives: seeing everyone we encounter as a Creator. The roles of Creator, Challenger and Coach are all centered in the acknowledgement that everyone has the capacity to choose their response to their circumstances and envision and choose outcomes to create in their lives.

Relating to others as a Creator is relatively easy when they, too, are seeking to live their lives more consistently from the Creator Orientation and, perhaps, share the language and frameworks of TED*. But what if someone you encounter is playing one or more of the roles of Victim, Persecutor or Rescuer, which make up the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)? Even worse, what if the other is being a “jerk?” How do we see the other then? That’s the “test!”

First and foremost, in situations like that, we can see the other as a Challenger to ourselves to hone our own ability as a Creator to see the Creator in them. It also is a great opportunity to practice compassion.

A friend and colleague, Mark R. Jones, CEO of the Integral Wellness Group, recently conducted a short workshop on a practice that is a great framework for developing compassion and seeing others as a Creator. Mark had the opportunity a few years ago to meet with the Dalai Lama and, in that conversation, asked him for advice on how to teach peace in the world. The Dalai Lama responded that all people want and need three things: to be Heard, Seen, and Loved (HSL). Mark calls this the HSL (or “Hizzle”) Practice.

The key to this practice is in being fully present with the other in a way that is non-judgmental and meets them where they are.

One feels heard when we can feed back to them the content or essence of their perspective or what they are saying. To do this, it helps tremendously to be able to listen for understanding (or possibility, as was covered in a previous “TED* Letter) and to realize that we can hear someone – even if we disagree with their stand or perspective. It’s as simple as saying to the other “here’s what I hear you saying;” feeding back a summary of what they said; and asking “did I understand you correctly?”

One knows they are seen when we give them our undivided attention – if only in that particular moment. While we might encounter the other in a role they play in the world – be that a clerk, or a co-worker, or a customer/client, or a loved one – to respond to them in a way as a person (rather than just a role), they inherently feel seen as a Creator.

We feel loved when someone gives us the gift of their presence – especially through being heard and seen (there is a purposeful order to HSL!). I heard a distinction a number of years ago that has been extremely helpful at times: I can love you even if, in a particular moment, I do not like you because of what you are doing or how you are showing up!

Which brings us back to the challenge of seeing someone who we do not particularly like in an interaction as a Creator. They may not see themselves as a Creator. It may not be possible or even appropriate for you to explicitly call attention to their capacity to be a Creator. But as a Creator yourself, you have the ability to choose to respond to them in that moment as one Creator interacting with another.

Even if they act as a Victim, they are a Creator. Even if they act as a Rescuer, they are a Creator. Even if they act as a Persecutor, they are a Creator. All you have to do is hear them, see them, and “love” them. The more you make this a conscious practice, the more you will find that they respond to you in kind – eventually!