One of the most dramatic moments baseball fans hope to experience during a game is the exhilaration of spontaneously catching a ball moving in the trajectory of their seat in the stands.
Got'cha!!! A surprise and a delight for the lucky fan! And, once that ball is caught, the baseball buff gets to keep it as a memento of an unanticipated adventure.
This serendipitous occasion is not the only time that unexpected "balls" get hurled in our direction, and, often they surprise us with their ferocity and juice. To try to catch a "ball" with that kind of negative energy may seem like a dangerous aspiration and ducking out of the way, maybe even hiding in the stands, might feel like better choices. But hiding out is not "taking care of the business" that is coming your way. And even if you are successful in hiding out, the "business" will not be deterred from making another, and possibly more uncomfortable, appearance because the issue has not yet been addressed.
Better to catch the "ball" coming your way...sooner or later it's going to find you. The messenger does not rest until the message is delivered.
Here is where your skill and insight come into play (pun "play"fully intended).
If you can keep your wits about you and view this moment as a juicy opportunity to step into the majors (Yes, I am at it again), you can not only "catch" the ball that is coming your way, you can also recognize the specific energy that is fueling its circuit.
Chances are you will not like the way the message is being delivered. It may feel rough, edgy...attacking, judgmental. Here is where you use your ability to discern the import of the message but then put a different wrapping on it, translating the message into an expression that feels comfortable to you. Still preserving its intent and authenticity but expressing it in a way that goes down easier. Literally, helping the "pitcher" manage his emotions and still get the job done. Rewiring your reaction to the juice headed in your direction by responding with gentleness and understanding, honoring the energy of the emotion that is making itself known.
Metaphrasing the Message...translating it from one "language" (the language of judgment and accusation) to another (the language of self-assessment, compassion and understanding).
This maneuver will undoubtedly cause a new reaction. When someone is overcome with distress, they throw a fastball and expect to get a fastball back. And when they don't get it, they stop to see what is happening. They feel off their game and sense a new energy is brewing.
YOU are the new energy. YOU are demystifying the negativity by unearthing the unmet need that is giving birth to it. YOU are transcending their adversity with your readiness and willingness to meet them in their time of need.
YOU have caught the "ball" and introduced a new play so that the story behind it can be recognized, acknowledged, understood and welcomed. When we know the truth of what is happening and how people feel about it,
we are primed and ready to be an agent of healing for ourselves (as we appreciate the beauty of our effort) and for others (as we clearly demonstrate that we are listening with our hearts).
Rules of the new play:
Welcome the truth of what someone is feeling.
Affirm their right to have this experience.
Look for the unmet need that is sourcing the problem.
Reflect on whether you have contributed to the difficulty.
Consider what you are willing to do to help resolve it.
Express your truth as you have come to understand it.
top image from 6thelementdesigns.com
bottom image from goplayball.com