The Four D’s of Disconnection
Part of the “Know your Jackal” series, part I
1. Diagnosis: including evaluations, analysis, criticisms, comparisons, projections, labels, moralistic judgements (ideas of rightness/wrongness, goodness/badness, diligence/laziness, appropriateness/inappropriateness, etc). In using communications similar to the above, we are using static language to diagnose who we think people are instead of communicating what is important to us. Such language increases the likelihood of defensiveness, argument or returned criticism and lessens the likelihood of understanding and connection.
As we are culturally conditioned to this type of thinking and dialogue, I believe many of us experience great difficulty in understanding why ideas of rightness and wrongness may not serve life. And yet, the moment we deflect focus away from that which is most important to us (our inherent needs) to ideas that incorporate moralistic judgements of ourselves or other people, we decrease own clarity and therefore opportunity to choose actions or words that will most fully serve us.
2. Denial of Responsibility: including words like“should”, “ought” “must” “can’t” “have to”,attributing the choices we make to “company policy” or “superiors orders”, or attributing the cause of our feelings to other people or extrinsic situations (“Youmake me feel frustrated!”).
When we use language or incur thoughts either consciously or unconsciously that imply that our choices are the result of someone or something extrinsic from ourselves, we lessen connection to our own empowerment and awareness. Words like“should” “must” and “can’t” imply our present choices are beyond our control. Such words, though often expressed, do not provide clarity or insight into the needs we are serving by making the choices we do. As we begin to notice such words or thoughts, however, we can utilize our new awareness to link to (or take responsibility for) our needs. As needs become forefront in our consciousness, we are then empowered to choose strategies that may better support them. So the question that may most serve us when thinking words like ‘should’ is: “What do I need in this moment?”
3. Deserve-orientated language. This language or belief system includes ideas of punishment and reward as motivators and often implies that either reprimand or praise is deserved. A question we might ask ourselves to shift to a consciousness more mutually empowering and supportive of our intrinsic values might be as follows:
“Would we like our children or others in our lives to be self-motivated, excited and intrinsically inspired to learn, evolve and grow because they are connected to and inspired by their own needs and values? Or would we prefer that this motivation is derived from rewards if they comply with our ideas for learning and evolving… or punishments if they do not comply?”
4. Demands (instead of Requests)
When we demand something of another person, that person may agree. However, compliance may often evolve from fear or worry that the other will be disliked, blamed or punished if s/he does not agree, and may therefore result in depression or anger. If the other person chooses not to succumb to our demand, we may experience rebellion and non-compliance to future requests. I believe we are much more likely to fully realize our needs when we are unattached to an agenda and willing to incorporate openness, curiosity and mutual respect into our dialogues. When we request an action from another person without attachment to outcome and with a willingness to connect to mutual needs, we are most likely to produce an agreement that fulfils and honors each person and contributes to future harmony.