Two people are standing, facing each other, hands raised to shoulder-height and palms open. They touch palms and lean towards each other. As the leaning begins, a balance is achieved to prevent either person from falling. Then something happens that disrupts the balance - someone starts pushing. This action not only breaks the balance, but it causes the other person to push back out of self-defense. Of course, this response is met with more pushing. And the cycle continues until someone is tired of either pushing back or being pushed.
This demonstration happens everyday in relationships. Things are going great. There are palms touched (making a connection with others.) There is a balance (mutual trust.) Then the pushing begins (aggression, broken trust, tempers, etc.) This action causes the other person to push back and things get out of hand.
So, how can you avoid this situation? Two ways...
1. When you achieve a balance with others, maintain it. Be truthful. Be respectful. Think before you talk. Thoughtfully consider their point of view. Understand that there is a "leaning" going on - that you are connected to others and that your behavior affects their life. Live outside yourself.
2. When someone starts pushing you or when you find yourself starting to push, step away. Don't make others push back and don't waste your energy pushing back. The secret learning in the analogy above is that as soon as one of the parties stops pushing, the pusher stops as well because there is nothing left to push on. This attention and tension break stops the vicious cycle and balance has a better chance to succeed again.
Processing Questions for PLI Curriculum Teachers/Trainers:
1. Why do you think the pushing starts?
2. When was a time that “pushing” ruined a close relationship in your life?