Re-posted From: http://KindCommunication.org/2015/03/08/lower-the-stakes/
Do you live in a high stakes world?
I know I can sometimes. ”If I don’t do enough marketing events, and if I don’t do them correctly, then I’ll have no clients and go out of business.” ”If my partner and I have a fight, I’m a fraud as a NVC teacher and she might leave me.” ”If my life doesn’t look a certain way by a certain age, then I’m a failure.”
How about you? Do you live in a high stakes world? Do you put a lot of pressure on yourself to “succeed”? Is the thought of “failure” unbearable because of the speculated consequences? Even, do you believe in the concepts of “success” and “failure”?
When we live in a high stake world it clouds our thinking and creates a lot of suffering. Our culture tells us that believing in high stakes will help us. ”You’ve gotta stay motivated.” ”You need to be driven.” ”Success and failure are in your hands.” Our parents, friends, teachers, and media were well-intentioned when they encouraged us to pursue success and avoid failure. They wanted us to live lives that were full of joy, lives that are meaningful, and they wanted us to know that our actions, our choices, matter.
And that is true. Your choices and your actions do matter. What’s not true is the notion that everything depends upon how you act and what choices you make.
The world is not in fact a high stakes place. Look at nature. When a class 5 Hurricane rips apart a coastline or a volcanic eruption decimates the surrounding area. Yes, there is a lot of pain, there is a lot of destruction, and yes there may even be a lot of death. But does that mean everything is a failure and things are hopeless? No. Life goes through a process of recovery and then continuation. Even in the forest surrounding the Chernobyl meltdown, life has not become extinct. There are wolves, deer, boars, bears, and elk still roaming those woods. Even in the bleakest situations, life survives.
What about the human world? In the world of man we have the homeless, drug addiction, unemployment, and debt which remind us daily of how much we have to lose. But don’t we also have a plethora of services to help the homeless and to help those struggling with addiction? And when we look at the lives of our friends and family, do we see unemployment and debt being the end? Or isn’t it just a period, a phase, which many people pass through?
I don’t think we live in a high stakes world. I think we create a high stakes world in our minds and then believe it to be true because we think in some way we need to believe in it. Or because we’ve become so habituated to acting and believing that it is true.
I want to invite you to lower the stakes. If you could realize and really trust that everything is going to turn out okay, you would have a lot more freedom, joy, and peace. You’d be able to think straight, take your time with decisions, and notice what in your life you can simply let go of. You’d be able to communicate with more compassion because you’d have more compassion for yourself. If you didn’t believe your world as you know it was going to end then you’d have more space to take risks, to explore, and to discover who you most want to be in the world.
So let’s make an agreement. Let’s lower the stakes. ”It’s not all or nothing.” ”There’s no way to do it all right.” ”There’s no way to utterly fail.” ”I am okay, and you are okay. And we will be okay no matter what comes our way.”
KindCommunication.org is a project by a close friend of Wiki World Order, Alex Leach. WWO fully supports the study, practice, and teaching of non-violent communication as one of the core solutions which already exists.