Balance courage with consideration

But the good news is there is a way out: Invoke your courage to balance with your concern for others. That way you could help more.

My prayers got answered- soon I had clarity. I tried slow and conscious breathing; I heard the breath that I inhaled and slowly exhaled, even as externally I held Sanjay’s hand, and heard him. Inadvertently I entered a space beyond thoughts. I felt a sense of control over my emotional state. I knew I needed to offer service and add value to others’ lives, and this was my chance. I abruptly asked Mr. Sanjay to stop and said, “I want to understand you, but I am lost. Can you please help me realize what you are going through?”

He stopped his emotional barrage and stared blankly; my request had confused him. Then he nodded as if to accede to my wish. I pulled out a Needs-Feelings card one of my friends had given me years ago. This small laminated sheet contains essential words to explain different feelings and needs; the card often helps me connect to my internal state. Marshall Rosenberg first taught this in his Non-Violent Communication, and my friend and I picked it up from there.

I now asked the disturbed Mr. Sanjay to recognize the words that accurately describe what he’s feeling at this point. He glanced at the sheet once and then continued the salvo. My mind protested, ‘No! He is treating you like a dustbin. Stop him!’ I knew I had to act fast. I tried to feel compassion for Sanjay, but it was more practical to ask him to improve his awareness.

“No,” I said assertively, “I insist you see the list here, and I am sure some words here resonate with your situation now. I wouldn’t want to guess or judge what you are going through. Please help me.”

He said okay but after a few seconds of looking at the list went on a tangent again. I banged the table and got up with a start. I summoned all my sincerity and begged him, “Please help me; I want to serve you but feel miserable because I can’t.”

He sputtered, “Let me tell you this one thing, and then I’ll listen to you.”

A few minutes passed, and there was no sign he’d stop. I rose again, folded my palms, and said, “Before we met you were helpless, and now it’s the two of us frustrated. I am sorry I need to leave now as I feel irritated because I am unable to connect to you.”

“Oh sorry,” he said, “You tell me what I should do?”

To be continued…..

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