A woman rolled her eyes in contempt as I spoke in the circle of last night’s dance event; she then turned her head towards the person on her right side, making a grimace of discontent with brief eye contact to this other person to engage her as accomplice in her contempt.
It was a brief gesture that lasted less than second, and I reacted to it with contraction and tension around my chest and belly.
My first reaction was to ask myself how was I wrong. Did I talk too much, or was the content irrelevant, or too detailed and boring?
Personal growth step # 1: Self awareness to the effectiveness of communication.
Then I asked myself: when have I shown contempt to others, like she has shown to me?
Personal growth step # 2: Shadow work integration - owning my own contempt by bringing it into the light of awareness.
What is a healthy way to disapprove of a person’s behaviour while holding the person in high regard (compassionate action)?
Lesson # 1: Connect with the person whose behaviour you dislike. In seeking alliance with another against the person, you disconnect and create a distance between you and the other, which can be useful in particular contexts, and not so useful in an intimate circle of dancers.
Humour, of course, provided that you laugh with the person and not at the person’s expense, is a healthy way to dissaprove. Humour is for critique the “spoonful of sugar” which helps the “medicine go down”. That’s sarcasm, baby! Straightforward humour teaches and connects.
Lesson # 2: When someone does something that you dislike or disapprove of, laugh with the person at the person’s behaviour (don’t laugh at the person behind her back). Teasing sarcasm might be the best medicine.
Tikkun (Hebrew for “making amends”): I resolve to hold each person in high regard and treat all with compassion and consideration. I may tell that woman what I noticed and how I reacted if I assess that it is useful to me and to her.
Prayer answered: I have been praying to have all the obstacles in my way to love removed. Contempt was one of them.
I am thankful.