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Step Two. Who am I in this?
Eventually it becomes possible to not focus only on the other person. It becomes possible to focus on ourselves again. We have a sense that we are settled in our own skin. We have a sense of our own sensations and emotions – and the intensity of them.

Step Three. What are my values?
After being able to stop focusing on the other person, part of understanding ourselves as finding our own values. We realised that to be this upset there must be a reason for it.

This meant us dealing with questions like:

  • Why is it that this is so very important to me?
  • What is it that I believe?
  • Why this issue? There are many things in this world to get upset about – why is it this one that I care about so much?
  • What aspect of this person’s belief or behaviour is it that upsets me so very much?
  • Where is it specifically that I think the other person is wrong?

This stage wasn’t neatly compartmentalised – it was back to just being upset with the other person and how wrong they were, then getting back in touch with ourself, then looking at our values again and so on. And it wasn’t a detached intellectual process which is the impression given by listing these questions.

However, eventually we reached a measure of clarity on values.

Step Four. Developing a broader perspective
This means broadening out in lots of different dimensions.
It means getting a sense of the person’s behaviour in a broader context. Seeing the other person’s behaviour as one aspect of all this person’s behaviour. Seeing their difference about this issue as one part of how they put their values together.

It also means seeing that this person isn’t absolutely unique. There are others, most likely, who also behave the way they do or who share their values. It may be that we have friends even who have the same behaviour or share the same values. If not friends we can probably read books about those who behave in this way or adhere to these values.

It is also possible to see the person’s behaviour and values in the broader context of our society or sub-culture. Most of us have been shaped to some extent by the groups that we grew up in. It can help to know what experiences and groups shaped the other person and lead to their behaviour and their understanding of their own values.

There were two results of this stage.

  • First, feeling calmer. This was the first time there had been any lessening of the incredible intensity and energy that all this involved. The focus became less laser-like.
  • Secondly, a sense that I’m not perfect either; that my behaviour is not always beyond reproach and that I don’t always live up to my own values.

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