In my world, the act of owning my own experience is the most powerful way of connecting with another person. It allows me to own my projections and assessments as my own, and check in with the other person, to see if it matches their experience.
This is another one of my practices, and as the word practice implies, it is an exercise in development, and I don’t always have it mastered. Like any practice, it is a muscle to develop.
Here is a 3 step process I use to develop my ability to own my experience:
1) Notice what I’m noticing.
This sounds like a rule handed down from the head of the Department of Redundancy Department, but I’m amazed at how often I miss this.
I have also found through the practice of circling, that it’s not uncommon for others to gloss this step over.
I once asked a woman what she was feeling in a particular moment. She replied, “I don’t feel anything.”. To that I asked, “What is like to not feel anything?”. Her response, “Scary”.
I find this quite intriguing. Was she truly not experiencing any emotion in that moment, and the experience of not feeling an emotion had her scared, or was she scared at the initial question, and me asking it have her drop into a level of more awareness in the moment?
It was all her subjective experience. I have no authority in stating what she is feeling. AND the experience leaves me even more curious about her process.
This step can also be linked to a practice of what I have heard referred to as “Witness Consciousness”. It is the act of making your subjective experience, objective.
Right now, I’m noticing that I’m typing on my laptop. I’m also noticing that the heat from the laptop is warming up my right leg. I’m also feeling slightly nervous about adding this to the blog.
Which brings me to step number two:
2) Notice what I’m imagining.
Often, in our culture, one can be prone to imagining one knows exactly what is happening in an interaction between ourselves and another. But can we be so certain?
Are we even certain we can know exactly is going on with ourselves?
This imagining we know what is happening with another person can be the source of much misunderstanding and conflict.
What did you imagine I was nervous about at the end of the first step?
So you know, I was nervous that I would be judged negatively for adding to the blog what I was imagining in that moment. (Are you curious why?)
I felt judgmental of my writing style, and imagined others would read it and find it corny. (Maybe you do!)
My own judgement had me feeling nervous about adding it in, for fear that I would appear inferior to some other imaginary blogger in my mind.
Is this true? Maybe. Depends on who you ask. But the fact of the matter is, that was my subjective experience in that moment.
Which leads me to step 3. How to check in with another while owning my experience.
3) Share what I’m noticing and imagining. Then share how I am feeling about it, or get curious if it matches the other person’s experience.
So, in my example here, I’ve noticed I was writing this blog, and imagining that I would be judged as corny. That had me feeling nervous about sharing this blog publicly.
Sharing that has me feel even more nervous, or even a little bit vulnerable to share.