This is a very important question to consider at every moment of the day, regardless of the person or group for whom you’re in relationship. But you may be thinking, “but we’re not on the same team!” Ah, yes, this is the problem…we think we’re not on the same team. But this is just a product of mind or how our brains dupe us into believing such a silliness.
So what does it mean to be on the opposite team? What does this look and feel like? The simplest way to explain this is to not…it’s to experience it and sadly, it shouldn’t take too long before you encounter this with someone in your day and this is because most of us are fooled by our mind. We can experience it in traffic when people speed ahead to get in front of you, when you’re working with someone and trying to make a decision as a team, with your partner when discussing something heartfelt or personal…opportunities to witness are all over the place.
When I feel this during an interaction or witness it, I feel walls go up, people harden (even if it’s a subtle hardening), they take political positions and so on. It’s hard to put into words but I can very much feel the intention or attitude of, “I’m against you” or “I’m going to take a position in my corner because I don’t feel that you’re in mine.” When we do this positioning, we are now in a stance of aggression and rejection. Which means that we’re not listening to, we’re not trying to understand the other person, we’re not seeing our commonalities and common desires and we’re not working together to improve the situation for everyone. Instead, we’re working for ME.
Even if we need to work on our own behalf in order to care for ourselves, we can still be on the same team. So what does it take to be on the same team? What does it feel like? Well, we need to muster the courage to practice vulnerability, caring, honesty and patience. We also need to arrive at the belief that the relationship is the priority and not our ego. Here, ego manifests itself as the need to be right, to be affirmed, to be told that we’re good or our belief that people must be okay with with we think, feel and do in order to feel good about who we are.
If we’re able to let go of ego needs and stay with the intention and practices mentioned, we can actually feel quite a beautiful thing happen. It doesn’t mean that everything goes smoothly and we don’t argue but there’s a heartfelt sense that the relationship is okay, that we’re okay. If we have an addiction to goodness, pleasantness, being happy all of the time then this means we’re not willing to be vulnerable and experience, within the presence of other people, the entire realm of emotions.
Being on the same team means that we’re honest, open and driven by a fundamental caring for the other person and ourselves. We’re striving to determine what we can do together, in the short-term and long-term, where there will be a nice balance of people being free to be deeply authentic (which does not mean automatic) but that we have identified common things that we value and work to promote or uphold.
So do a little check in your life…when do you take your corner? When do you defend? When are you ready to pounce, belittle, discredit, speak down to and what’s going on for you? If you can recognize your own patterns you can then find freedom from these automatic responses, which I refer to as reactivity. If we don’t work to know ourselves and figure out how to be on the same team, regardless of what the other person does, we’ll continue to experience the same difficulties and will probably feel pretty lonely along the way.
So what do you say, shall we give it a try?