I have negative thoughts. Daily. And those negative thoughts are about me. About my work. About what other people think of my work. And those negative thoughts lead to negative emotions. And while I try to act the way I want to feel, this has me thinking.
I’ve heard it said that sometimes students’ negative reactions are not about their teacher. Often, behaviors are rooted in what students are going through.
This has me wondering how often our reactions to students are not actually about THEM, but in fact, about our own internal struggles.
I’m working on viewing some of the negative behaviors of others as information. Stepping back, observing the situation, getting curious about it, then asking why? Why is this person behaving this way?
Instead, I’m often internally assessing the threat. How badly will this situation or person make me feel about myself and my work?
True empathy and solution-orientation require us to step outside of ourselves. Empathy requires us to feel with others. To sit with another person in their experience. And then communicate our understanding of their perspective back to them.
In order to do this, we must acknowledge our negative, internal dialogue. We will never eliminate it, but we must raise our personal awareness and find strategies to pivot our thinking.
I’m convinced that the only way out is to look within. The work we do with ourselves may be the most important work of all; it’s the only way to get to true empathy and creative solutions.